December 17, 2013
WB Cabinet approves reforms in education sector
West Bengal Cabinet approved the West Bengal State Higher Educational Institutions (Reservation in Admission) Bill, 2013, paving the way for the reservation of seats for OBCs, Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe candidates.
Under the provisions of the Bill, over and above the 22-per cent seat reservation in higher education institutes, there will be a 5 per cent reservation for SC and 6 per cent reservation for ST candidates. It was also decided that there would be a 10 per cent reservation, for OBC Category-A and 7 per cent reservation for OBC Category-B applicants.
The total number of seats would be increased in these institutions to ensure that the seats available for general category students do not go down. As of now, reservations for SCs and STs were under executive orders, but these, too, were now brought under the framework of the `comprehensive legislation`.
The reservation takes effect in state-funded universities, government and government-aided colleges but not in institutes of excellence, research institutions and institutions of national and strategic importance and educational institutions established and administered by any minority, and specialized courses such as super-specialty studies in medicine, engineering and technology. This will come into effect from the academic year of 2015-16.
The State Cabinet also approved the rules of the State Council of Technical and Vocational Education and Skill Development Bill, 2013. The Bill aims at generating more job opportunities in the state. To set up an integrated council, two existing councils – the West Bengal State Council of Technical Education and the West Bengal State Council of Vocational Education and Training – were amalgamated. Recently, the state government repealed the West Bengal State Council of Technical Education Act, 1995 and the West Bengal State Council of Vocational Education and Training Act, 2005. The amalgamation would help strengthen skill development initiatives.