New Delhi: The University Grants Commission (UGC) and the Ministry of Education (MoE) have issued a clarification over the UGC's recent draft guidelines on the reservation policy in higher education institutions.
The guidelines suggested that a vacancy reserved for SC, ST or OBC candidates can be declared unreserved if enough candidates from these categories are not available. In the case of promotion also if sufficient numbers of SC and ST candidates fit for promotion against reserved vacancies are not available, such vacancies may be de-reserved and filled by the candidates of other communities, the guidelines added.
The power to accord approval to the de-reservation of the reserved vacancies in such cases will be delegated to UGC and the MoE if certain conditions are met.
The 'Guidelines for Implementation of the Reservation Policy of the Government of India in Higher Education Institutes (HEIs)' were in the public domain for feedback from stakeholders and received backlashes from several quarters.
Following the protests, the MoE on Sunday clarified that no reserved posts can be de-reserved. The UGC Chairman also posted on X and stated that "there has been no de-reservation of reserved category positions in Central Educational Institutions in the past and there is going to be no such de-reservation".
Meanwhile, Congress on Sunday alleged that there was a "conspiracy" to end reservation given to SCs, STs and OBCs for posts in higher education institutions, and claimed that the central government under Prime Minister Narendra Modi was only doing "politics of symbolism" about Dalits, backward classes and tribals.
Congress General Secretary Jairam Ramesh, sharing a media report on the UGC guideline on X, demanded an urgent withdrawal of such proposals. In his post in Hindi, Ramesh said, "A few years ago, RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh) chief Mohan Bhagwat had talked about reviewing reservations. Now, there is a conspiracy to end the reservation given to SCs, STs and OBCs in higher education institutions."
Addressing a workers' convention in Dehradun, Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge also hit out at the government over the issue. "The (Narendra) Modi government's UGC is now issuing a notification that reservation for SC, ST and OBC posts in universities should end. The BJP is only busy in snatching the jobs of the youth," he alleged.
The JNU Students' Union (JNUSU) held a protest against the issue and burnt an effigy of UGC Chairman M Jagadesh Kumar. The JNUSU alleged that the new draft guidelines were "exclusionary" and an act of "scuttling of reservation in higher education institutes".
The SFI Delhi State Committee has also called for a protest at the UGC headquarters on Monday.
(With PTI inputs)