NEW DELHI, Jan 29: Even after the union education ministry denied any move to take back the reservation rights of the backward classes, the Congress on Monday demanded that the government scrap the draft guidelines by the University Grants Commission (UGC) which proposed that positions reserved for candidates from Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Classes can be declared unreserved if enough candidates from these categories were not available.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said the UGC’s new draft was indication of a conspiracy to end the reservation benefits extended to the SCs, STs, and OBCs. “This is an attempt to kill the dreams of those fighting for social justice and to eliminate the participation of the deprived sections,’’ Gandhi said in a post on X. The Congress leader also said 3,000 of the 7,000 reserved posts in 45 central universities were vacant and that only 7.1% of professors in these institutions were Dalits, 1.6% from the ST category and 4.5% from the OBC.
The Congress’s fresh attack over the guidelines comes a day after the Union education ministry on Sunday responded to concerns around the draft guidelines and made it clear that it would not permit posts to be de-reserved.
“Reservation in Central Educational Institutions (CEI) is provided for all posts in direct recruitment in Teacher’s cadre as per the Central Educational Institutions (Reservation in Teachers’ Cadre) Act, 2019. After enactment of this Act, no reserved post is to be de-reserved. The Ministry of Education has given directives to all the CEIs to fill up the vacancies strictly as per the 2019 ACT,” the ministry said on X on Sunday. “This is to clarify that there has been no de-reservation of reserved category positions in Central Educational Institutions (CEIs) in the past and there is going to be no such de-reservation,” it said.
UGC chairperson M Jagadesh Kumar also underlined that no posts had been de-reserved so far and “there is going to be no such de-reservation.” According to UGC’s draft ‘Guidelines for Implementation of the Reservation Policy of the Government of India in Higher Education Institutes (HEIs)’, which was put out for public consultation: “There is a general ban on de-reservation of reserved vacancies in case of direct recruitment. However, in rare and exceptional cases when a vacancy in a Group A service cannot be allowed to remain vacant in public interest, the University concerned may prepare a proposal for de-reservation of the vacancy”.
Congress leader Udit Raj alleged that posts of professor were being deliberately kept vacant by rejecting eligible candidates from the reserved categories “so that the seats can be de-reserved and filled up with general category candidates.” Rajesh Lilothia, who heads the Congress’s SC cell, said the government was awarding the country’s highest civilian award, the Bharat Ratna, to Bihar’s socialist leader Karpoori Thakur on the one hand, and on the other, it was destroying reservations in the country.