TN passes Bill for reservation in professional courses

Tamil Nadu passes Bill to provide 7.5% reservation for govt school students in professional courses

AIADMK earlier provided for a similar quota for government school students in medical and dental colleges

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M K Stalin. Credit: PTI Photo

Tamil Nadu Assembly on Thursday unanimously passed a bill to provide 7.5 per cent reservation in admission to professional courses like engineering, agriculture, and law for students from government schools.

Though principal Opposition AIADMK supported the Bill when it was tabled by Chief Minister M K Stalin in the morning, the party members were not present in the House when the legislation was put to vote – they had staged a walkout protesting against the DMK government’s move to merge Dr J Jayalalithaa University with Annamalai University.

Members of the Opposition – BJP and PMK – who were present in the House supported the Bill. As the Bill was introduced in the Assembly, Opposition Leader Edappadi K Palaniswami said the AIADMK “wholeheartedly” supported the legislation as it would benefit students from the hinterland.

The legislation is modelled on the lines of law that the previous AIADMK government passed by providing 7.5 per cent reservation to students from government schools in admissions to medical and dental colleges.

Tabling the Bill, Stalin said the decision to bring legislation to provide reservation for government school students was taken after it was found that the number of such students getting into engineering, veterinary, agriculture and law courses was “very low.”

Explaining in detail, Stalin said of 8.5 lakh students who passed out of plus-two in 2019-2020, 3.45 lakh are from government schools. Of the students who joined the prestigious Anna University in various engineering streams in the 2020-2021 academic year, only 0.83 per cent were from government schools.

“The percentage of students from government schools who got admission in government engineering colleges is 6.31, while it is just 0.44 per cent in government-aided colleges. Only 3 per cent of those who joined veterinary courses are from government schools, and the percentage for agriculture courses is 4.89,” Stalin told the Assembly.

He said the government provided 7.5 per cent reservation after carefully considering the recommendations of the Justice D Murugesan Committee which suggested that reservations up to 10 per cent can be accorded to students from government colleges.

The committee’s mandate was to suggest ways to increase enrollment of government school students in professional courses. The reservation will be implemented from the 2021-2022 academic year.

The Commission, according to the legislation, reported that Government school students being in a disadvantageous position, require more facilities to pursue their school education and “preferential treatment” in joining various professional courses.

“It is evident from the Commission's report that there exists de facto inequalities between the Government school students and the private school students,” the Bill said, adding that the government has decided to set apart certain percentage of seats on preferential basis to the students, who have studied from sixth to twelfth standard in government schools.

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