Reports suggest that serious differences over strategy, financial requirements, and concerns of Constitutional validity within the Government may delay the Bill for Other Backward Classes (OBC). With limited time to consider a slew of new legislation, the Federal Cabinet may instead consider more crucial and viable bills such as the Criminal Penal Code (CrPC) Amendment Bill on hostile witnesses, sugar price management, etc and may not even consider the recommendations of the Oversight Committee.
The OBC quota has been mired in controversy and has strong objections within the
the Opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) but has strong support from communists and regional parties who will typically see electoral gain with such a divisive legislation. While the Oversight Committee led by Veerappa Moily wants moderation, the proponents of the bill led by Human Resources Minister Arjun Singh want radical one-step introduction and implementation with a complete repeal of autonomy for all universities.
Moily insists that finance is not an issue as it will be met by
depleting other essential initiatives such Right to Education that guarantees primary education to fund this politically convenient idea. The estimated cost of this initiative is Rs. 16,000 crores (USD 3.47 billion) including “recurring and non-recurring expenses.” However, the Indian Institute of Technology, Indian Institute of Management, and several premier Medical schools are skeptical that the Government will bulldoze the implementation and “not back it up with innovative steps or funding.”
The Oversight Committee was set by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh this May to find a way to implement a 27% reservation for the OBC within the scope of the 93rd Constitutional Amendment passed this year. The committee was also to find ways to safeguard the students in the general category. The basis of the Committee’s solution is an increase in the number of seats in these colleges which require massive investments.