Talent doesn't follow 'quota system'

Rajeev R Roy/New Delhi

Study and Struggle! This was Babasaheb B R Ambedkar's exhortation to the vast underprivileged - the Dalits - of the country. The State's affirmative action came only as the next step.

An emerging trend here conclusively proves that the seeds of Revolution are finally being sown in the country's schools and how. According to the latest figures available, a significant number of students belonging to the Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribe are coming out with flying colours in the National Talent Search Scheme (NTSS) examination, without availing of the Reservation clause.

In other words, they compete with the General category students and pip them to the post. The National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) conducts the NTSS examinations every year to identify talents for scholarships. Class X students are eligible for the NTSS exams. The council awards nearly 1,000 scholarships every year under the scheme.

This year, as many as 21 students belonging to the SC/ST category were awarded NTSS scholarships in the General category. The previous year, the figure stood at 31.

"There is a marked improvement in their performance over the years. Many of the selected SC/ST students in the general category are superb," an NCERT Faculty said. "The number of such students is increasing by the year," he added.

In 2000, out of the successful students, 25.6 per cent belonged to the SC/ST category, 3.1 per cent more than the "quota" meant for them. In the year 2001, the corresponding figure stood at 24.6 per cent.

"Compared to the General category students, the overall performance of SC/ST students is equally good. In most of the cases, the difference is of only a few marks," sources said.

For the General category, 40 per cent is the qualifying mark; for the SC/ST category, it's 32 per cent. "A number of SC/ST students secure over 35 per cent marks. Some of the students score very close to 40 per cent," sources added.

The NTSS examination is conducted at two stages. The first-stage selection is done by states and union territories through a written test followed by the "mains" conducted by the NCERT.

The examination consists of mental ability test (MAT) and scholastic aptitude test (SAT), each comprising of 100 multiple choice items of one mark each. Around 1,500 candidates are called for interviews, which is of 25 marks.

"All the students who get NTSS scholarships do very well in their respective areas of higher studies," NCERT director Prof JS Rajput said.

In reply to a question, Prof Rajput said the SC/ST students selected under NTSS are in no way inferior to the General category students.

"We find them very talented. After all, they too have to secure the minimum 32 per cent qualifying marks to get the NTSS scholarship," Prof Rajput, who introduced the reservation scheme in NTSS, added.

Quota in private sector impractical: NSS

By Our Staff Reporter

KOTTAYAM, JAN. 2. The NSS general secretary, Mr. P. K. Naryana Panicker, today said that the call to extend reservation to the private sector (made by a section of the UDF leadership recently) was impractical.

In an informal chat with mediapersons at the NSS headquarters at Perunna, the NSS chief said under the prevailing dispensation, no Government would be able to force such a proposition on the private sector. Any such move would be vehemently opposed, he added.

Asked about the surprise visit to the NSS headquarters made by the Chief Minister, Mr. A. K. Antony, on Tuesday (after a gap of eight years following the unfortunate incidents which resulted in the walkout of the NDP from the UDF), Mr. Panicker said that the visit had not made any difference in the outlook of the NSS. "Definitely, there is no change in the policy of equidistance" the NSS supremo quipped.

Reacting to another question, Mr. Panicker made it clear that the NSS backed out from the proposal to start a medical college, not because it could not mobilise the Rs. 250 crores for initial investment. The proposed medical college would have burdened the society with an annual financial commitment of Rs. 15 crores towards remuneration of the medical and paramedical staff alone. Any agency running a medical college would have to burden the common man to ensure returns of such a magnitude, he pointed out and added that the NSS was not ready for this.

Asked about the education policy of the UDF Government, Mr. Panicker echoed the sentiments expressed in the resolution passed by the Nair Prathinidhi Sammelan on Tuesday. According to him, one of the key factors which took Kerala to the fore front of basic education in the country was the commitment made by the successive Governments right from the colonial period. Any move to back out from these commitments would result in a major disaster in the education sector.

The recent dependence of the State Government on the self-financing sector, neglecting the aided education institutions, was a highly negative trend he said and hoped that the authorities would review the policy. According to him, as per the directives of the Supreme Court the Kerala Government had the obligation to set up a permanent commission to identify the creamy layer and remove them. The second report by the Justice Narendran Commission suggesting that the Backward Classes have not received adequate representation amounted to breach of the directives of the Supreme court, he said.

Dangle breaks away from Mahasangh


MUMBAI: Arjun Dangle, noted dalit writer and president of the Bharatiya Republican party, has broken away from the Bharip Bahujan Mahasangh led by Prakash Ambedkar, MP, and decided to support the Democratic Front government in the state.

Dangle announced that he had taken the decision as the Mahasangh had no consistent policy and workers did not know if the party supported or opposed the DF. Party workers, including writer and Mahasangh president Raja Dhale, were being humiliated, he said.

The Mahasangh was created with the merger of the BRP and the Bahujan Mahasangh, led by Makharam Pawar, former minister. The Mahasangh has been considerably weakened since Pawar joined the Congress after being expelled from the party by Prakash Ambedkar. Pawar was forced to resign as minister in the DF government.

Dangle said Mahesh Bharatiya, the party candidate in the election to the legislative council, did not get a single vote though the party has three members in the assembly. Yet, no action was taken against the members.

The BRP would ally with the Congress and other non-communal parties and contest 10 to 15 seats to the municipal corporation in Mumbai, Dangle said.

'Shagun' scheme misses the target group in Haryana


CHANDIGARH: The shagun scheme for girls belonging to scheduled caste families launched with much fanfare by the Punjab government seems to be flagging.

Problems like persons above the poverty line getting the money, design flaws and non-utilisation of funds seems to have plagued the scheme, according to an evaluation carried out by the economic adviser of the state.

The report mentions that the physical progress of the scheme slowed down in the very first year of its inception with almost 25 per cent of the applications remaining pending at the end of the year.

This was the case in 1997-98, 1998-99 and later years. Under the scheme the "shagun" money is to be given before the marriage or on the day of marriage.

In many instances the report found that persons who had availed of the scheme were not yellow card-holders, i.e., they were above the poverty line. In the four districts, Amritsar, Ferozepur, Mansa and Sangrur, where the evaluation was carried out it was found that anywhere between 20-55 per cent of the beneficiaries were not yellow card-holders.

The scheme faced bureaucratic hurdles as more than half of the families surveyed said that they had to visit the concerned authorities anywhere between three to six times to get the money.

Spending tapered off one year after the scheme was launched. In the first year almost 98 per cent of the amount released was spent, the next year (1998-99) it fell by 33 per cent, and the year after that by even more (less than 50 per cent).

Recently Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal was forced to warn district-level officers to be diligent in giving money to the beneficiaries.

Officials concerned with the implementation of the scheme say that the scheme launched by the government of India during the tenure of P V Narasimha Rao as prime minister was far more effective and useful. Under that scheme, they say, Rs 5,100 was cumulated for almost 20 years before the sum would be handed over to the beneficiaries.

And the beneficiaries were asked to register for the scheme much before the girl attained the age of marriage. Consequently, the sum they were likely to receive was much larger and thus more useful.

Finance Corp to give loans to tiny units Haryana Financial Corporation (HFC) will now provide loans to tiny and small-scale units for technology upgradation under credit linked capital subsidy scheme.

Announcing this here on Tuesday, a spokesman of the corporation said that small-scale units could avail capital subsidy at the rate of 12 per cent subject to a maximum of Rs 4.80 lakh for induction of proven technology. Tiny units with investment in plant and machinery less than Rs 10 lakh could avail subsidy up to Rs 0.96 lakh on a loan of Rs 8 lakh.

Units with investment in plant and machinery of Rs 10-25 lakh could avail a maximum subsidy of Rs 2.40 lakh on a loan of Rs 20 lakh.The spokesman further stated that small-scale units with investment in plant and machinery above Rs 25 lakh would be eligible for a subsidy up to Rs 4.80 lakh on a loan of Rs 40 lakh.

This subsidy would be calculated on the actual loan amount or the maximum ceiling of loan eligible for subsidy, whichever was lower.

Products and sub-sectors covered include auto-parts and components, information technology (hardware), food processing, including ice-cream manufacturing, drugs and pharmaceuticals, glass and ceramics, including tiles, electronic industry, and foundries (ferrous and cast iron).

New small-scale units which set up facilities with appropriate or proven technology would also be eligible. However, the units which are being upgraded with secondhand machinery would not be covered under this scheme.

The scheme would be in operation for five years.The corporation has also reduced effective rate of interest for tiny and small-scale units with effect from December 3.

Tibetans welcome restoration of Bamiyan Buddhas


HARAMSALA: The Tibetan government-in-exile has welcomed the decision of the new interim government in Afghanistan, headed by Hamid Karzai, to restore the Bamiyan Budhhas destroyed by the previous Taliban regime.

Thubten Samphel, secretary in the department of information and international relations, Tibetan government-in-exile, said that rebuilding of the two giant Bamiyan Buddha statues was a positive development not only for Tibet but for the whole world.

He said though Buddha statues are being rebuilt, the earlier architectural design might not be possible.

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Published on: January 03, 2002
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