All centrally-funded educational institutions — including IITs, IIMs, central universities, NITs and IIITs — will collectively add close to 1.2 lakh seats in the new academic session starting July, and another 95,000 next year to implement the 10 per cent quota for Economically Weaker Sections (EWS).
The central institutions were asked to increase their intake over two years in a way that the existing number of seats for SC, ST, OBC and general category students did not face cuts. This increase was pegged at 25 per cent by HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar in a press conference held last month.
The capacity expansion will cost the government roughly Rs 5,600 crore, according to the implementation plan shared by all central institutions by January 31.
Of this, Rs 3,830 crore has been sought for building new infrastructure, Rs 723 crore for salaries on account of hiring more teachers, and the remaining for fellowships meant for the added intake.
The biggest chunk of the Rs 5,600 crore has been sought by the central universities (Rs 2,682 crore), followed by the IITs (Rs 1,094 crore), and the NITs (Rs 1,001 crore).
This financial cost of implementing EWS reservation is much more than the estimate (of Rs 4,200 crore) initially prepared by the HRD Ministry.
As reported by The Indian Express on January 17, the official proposal moved by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment — which was approved by the Union Cabinet on January 7 — states that the cost of implementing the 10 per cent quota would have to be borne by the central institutions out of the additional revenue generated by them on account of increased seats, without any financial implication for the government. In other words, the original proposal approved by the Cabinet did not account for any expenditure on capacity expansion of central educational institutions for implementing the 10 per cent EWS quota.
However, the Interim Budget, 2019, has earmarked close to Rs 4,600 crore for implementing the 10 per cent reservation for the poor in general category in central educational institutions and for HEFA equity. It’s still not clear how much of this is meant specifically for capacity expansion of central institutions to accommodate the 10 per cent quota without reducing general category seats.
As per the plans shared by the educational institutions, IITs are going to collectively increase their student intake by 6,708 seats, of which 2,388 seats will be added this year, and remaining next year. Similarly, the IIMs will add 620 seats in July and 743 in 2020, and central universities will hike total intake by 47,223 over two years.
The 10 per cent EWS quota was approved by the Union Cabinet on January 7 and its implementation across all central institutions was notified by the HRD Ministry on January 17.