Health minister disappointed with creamy layer exclusion

April 10th, 2008 - 6:23 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Anbumani Ramadoss

New Delhi, April 10 (IANS) While welcoming the Supreme Court upholding the 27 percent quota for other backward classes (OBCs) in institutes of higher learning, Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss Thursday expressed disappointment at the exclusion of the creamy layer among the community. “We welcome the verdict of the Supreme Court. It is a historical verdict, but at the same time we are disappointed over the exclusion of the creamy layer. We would take up this issue with like minded parties as well as within the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) and the cabinet,” the health minister told reporters here.

Hailing the judgement as a “victory for social justice that has come after a long wait of 60 years”, Ramadoss thanked Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Human Resource Development Minister Arjun Singh for the move.

The new policy, once implemented, would take overall reservation in government-funded higher education institutions to 49.5 percent from the current 22.5, which is for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.

When asked how the government plans to increase the infrastructure to accommodate the hike in the number of seats in higher educational institutions, the health minister said the ministry has held a series of meetings on the matter.

“We have not had time to study the verdict. Once we get it, we will study the implications,” Ramadoss said.

He said though the government was interested in inviting private participation in medical education, it would not compromise on quality.

“We would like foreign universities like Harvard to come and set up schools here, but we don’t want commercialisation of education.”

Noting that the country needs to produce 100,000 doctors every year, Ramadoss said the health ministry has had a series of discussions on how to plan for India’s health infrastructure.

He said they are also contemplating changes in regulations of the medical and dental councils that would benefit students from poorer states like those in the northeast.

The apex court has clarified that children of MPs and legislators should not avail the benefit of reservation. It said the quotas for OBCs should not be in “perpetuity” and there should be a review of the OBC list every five years.

The legislation was passed unanimously by parliament in December 2006.

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