Since the 10% reservation for the economically weaker sections in higher education necessitates overall seats to go up by 25%, there is likely to be an increase of around 16,000 seats in Delhi University, while Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi, and Jawaharlal Nehru University, both residential institutions with limited hostel accommodation, could see student intake going up, respectively, by 590 and 346. Overall, around 20,000 additional seats are likely to be available for aspirants in the city, including those seeking admission into institutions of technology.

The reservation policy, to be implemented in universities across the country, has already made institutions concerned about their academic set-up. For DU the financial ramification are enormous. Without assistance from the central government, DU would find it difficult to manage the incremental costs arising from the need to enhance the infrastructure, administration and faculty strength. 

“This does not seem workable,” mused a DU administration official, reluctant even to contemplate raising tuition fees to meet the new expenses. Besides, with so many more seats to be offered, the university is likely to see a hectic admission period that could extend the duration of the entire process by a few more weeks.

The residential universities are under no less pressure with the Union human resource development ministry having decided that the new quota will have be to be implemented from the immediate new session. While IIT-Delhi, which has fewer seats to be filled, will have to cope with 590 more students, universities like JNU and National Law University will be forced to search for options for accommodating students.

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 “Since we are a residential university we will be required to build new hostels for the larger number of students,” said G S Bajpai, registrar, NLU. He felt that this would take time and wondered, therefore, whether the new quota could be effectively implemented from the coming session. 

NLU’s problem pales in the face of the one confronting JNU. The former will have to increase intake by 33 students, but JNU needs to take over 340, accommodating whom would mean the erection of more than one hostels. And yet it has little choice in the matter. “JNU has to follow the constitutional mandate and will accept EWS reservations from this year,” said Chintamani Mahapatra, rector 1. 

Lack of space is certainly a worrisome issue in JNU. “There is already a pressure on our resources and our hostel and classroom infrastructure,” said another JNU official. Only last October, the residential university had, in its Executive Council, passed a resolution to “explore the feasibility of setting up of a satellite campus to accommodate its students and to expand further”. With the EWS reservation, the university may perhaps be forced to expedite its search for an alternative campus site.

Delhi’s engineering colleges, however, may be the big beneficiaries. A jump of 163 engineering students in institutions like Indraprastha Institute of Information Technology (IIIT) once the 10% reservation is enforced could boost the revenues they get through student fees. “At IIIT, we met our regular expenses with the corpus created through student fees,” disclosed Sheetu Ahuja, manager (academics), IIIT. 

While Ahuja appeared happy to state that the institute in Okhla would abide by the provisions of the reservation policy once they were communicated to them, the Netaji Subhas University of Technology in Dwarka would be glad to see more students enrolling. It was elevated to a university only last year and can now hope for a surge in admissions. Formally under the Delhi government, NSUT “will add more courses and increase our student intake, and in any case we have the infrastructure for this”, enthused an institution official.

Reported by The Times of India ~Preksha Mishra

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