Medical and dental courses will now have a 27% reservation for other backward classes and 10% for economically weaker sections (which covers forwards) under the all India quota for undergraduate and postgraduate programmes, the government said on Thursday. The reservation will be implemented from the current academic year 2021-22.
It will benefit nearly 1,500 OBC students in MBBS and 2,500 OBC students in post-graduation and around 550 EWS students in MBBS and 1,000 in post-graduation. The decision can be seen in the context of “pro-OBC” initiatives such as the inclusion a significant number of OBCs in the recent ministerial reshuffle and the moves to undo an unfavourable Supreme Court order on designating of state backward lists.
While the issue of reservation in the all-India quota was pending for a long time, the Prime Minister, at a meeting held on Monday, directed the ministries concerned to facilitate an effective solution.
The introduction of the OBC reservation would significantly increase the overall seats as well. As was the case when OBC reservation was introduced in 2009, the number of non-reserved seats too were increased proportionately so as to ensure that the percentage of general seats remains the same. Therefore, higher education institutions which introduced the OBC reservation increased their total intake by around 50%. In a similar exercise, to introduce EWS reservation, the institutions had to increase their total intake by 20%.
The AIQ was introduced in 1986 under the Supreme Court’s directions to provide merit-based opportunities to students from any state aspiring to study in a good medical college in another state. The all-India quota consists of 15% of the total available UG seats and 50% of the total available PG seats in government medical colleges. In 2007, the SC introduced 15% reservation for Scheduled Castes and 7.5% for Scheduled Tribes in the AIQ scheme.
While the reservation was implemented in all central government institutions through the Central Educational Institutions (Reservation in Admission) Act, it was not extended to AIQ seats in state medical and dental colleges.
In order to provide benefits to students belonging to the EWS category in admission to higher educational institutions, a constitutional amendment was brought about in 2019, which enabled the provision of 10% reservation for “forwards”.
The latest decision will also extend the benefit for students from EWS in the AIQ scheme.