Ardhra Nair : Wed May 08 2013, 01:35 hrs
The education department has assured that the Maharashtra government will soon come out with a corrected version of the March 15 government resolution (GR) that appeared to have excluded general category students from the purview of the Right To Education (RTE) Act 2009, robbing them of the 25 per cent seats reserved for Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) of society.
The Indian Express had reported on March 21 about the lapse on part of the government. The GR issued on March 15 would be operational from the coming academic year. According to it, a child belonging to "disadvantaged group" means a child belonging to the Scheduled Caste or Schedule Tribe or a child with disability (as per the 2010 amendment of the original Act).
As per the GR, a "child belonging to weaker section" means a child including one belonging to Vimukta Jatis and Nomadic Tribes (VJNT), Other Backward Classes (OBC) and Special Backward Classes (SBC) and religious minorities specified by the state government, and the annual income of whose parent or guardian is below Rs 1 lakh. Thus, there is no mention of general category students, which had been lamented by activists.
According to the GR, the 25 per cent reservation for EWS students shall apply to all schools except unaided minority schools and madrasas, Vedic pathshalas and educational institutions primarily imparting religious education.
"This is a bad move. General category students will not be able to get admission no matter how poor he or she is. Besides, unaided minority schools too will not give admission to disadvantaged students. Hence, this GR will ruin the entire purpose of the RTE Act. There is a need to change the GR and issue a corrected version," said Nilesh Borate, a social activist.
Responding to the issue, Director, Primary Education, Mahavir Mane, said he had already notified the state government regarding the error. "I have notified the state government officials. It takes time to come up with a new GR. But a corrected GR will be issued soon," said Mane.
"Meanwhile, I have also asked the field officers to make sure that no discrimination takes place in the admissions as an aftermath of this GR. People are always ready to find loopholes in government rules but that should not affect students who are poor and belong to general category. Hence, the ground level officers will ensure that eligible candidates from open category too get admission under EWS quota," he added.