Karaikal Show Brings Quota into Focus
The relevance of regional reservation (RR) for admission into professional courses on the basis of backwardness has cropped up once again with students of Karaikal coming out with flying colours and performing better than Puducherry students in the Plus Two examination.
Regional reservation was introduced in August 2006 through a government order fixing the percentage of seats as per the population strength at 18 per cent for Karaikal, four per cent for Mahe and three per cent for Yanam.
Subsequently, the remaining 75 per cent seats was fixed for Puducherry region students, but it was scrapped in 2010 by the Madras High Court while upholding the reservation for Karaikal, Mahe and Yanam.
This has led to grievance among Puducherry students since students from Puducherry with better marks were losing their seats to students with lower marks of the outlying regions.
In the past few years, the students of the outlying regions have been performing quite well to secure a good number of the open seats as well (75 per cent seats), thereby adding strain on Puducherry students and scuttling their chances to study medicine and engineering. Even in the current year, two private schools of Karaikal figured in the top 10 schools while among the top 10, the students of Karaikal secured third, fifth and ninth places in the merit list. Among government schools, the first 10 positions in the merit list were secured by students of Karaikal. Percentage-wise also, while 89.39 percent students passed out from Puducherry, Karaikal recorded 90.87 per cent.
Even in the previous year, students from the outlying regions of Karaikal, Mahe and Yanam bagged the top positions in Centralised Admission Committee (CENTAC) merit list. Not only the three toppers, but as many as 23 students from the outlying regions of Karaikal, Mahe and Yanam figure among the top 150 students, thereby raising the question of the need for 25 per cent RR. “When the students are able to secure top 15 per cent of the seats on the basis of merit alone, is there a regional imbalance that has necessitated regional reservation?” asks Congress MLA and former education minister K Lakshminarayanan.
V Balasubramanian of Puducherry State Students and Parents Welfare Association, who is demanding cancellation of the GO points out that of the 105 seats in Indira Gandhi Medical College and Hospital, after allocation of 27 seats (25 per cent) under the RR, only 77 seats are available. Out of that, nearly 28-30 seats are secured by toppers from the outlying regions, leaving only around 50 seats for Puducherry students.
If the reservation is not withdrawn, it should be granted for students of Puducherry region also by going on appeal against the direction of the Madras High court scrapping 75 per cent reservation, said Lakshminarayanan.
Though former chief minister V Vaithilingam and CM N Rangasamy have made announcements to set up a committee for the issue, it has not yet materialised.
Congress MLA from Mahe and former home minister E Valsaraj suggested the setting up of a separate board of education to resolve the issue.