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Relevance: This article explains the evolution of All India Quota (AIQ) Scheme in India.
OBC reservation in All India Quota medical seats puts an end to a discriminatory policy.
Recently, the Centre decided to extend its 27% reservation for ‘other backward classes’ to all seats under the All India Quota (AIQ) Scheme is a welcome development. The Union government has also decided to provide 10% of the AIQ seats to those from the Economically Weaker Sections (EWS).
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Evolution of AIQ Scheme:
- The AIQ is a category created by the Supreme Court to free up some seats from residential or domicile requirements in some States for admissions to their medical colleges.
- Introduced in 1986, the AIQ comprised 15% of undergraduate medical and dental seats and 50% of post-graduate seats surrendered by the States for admission through a central pool.
- There was no reservation in the AIQ. But later, the Supreme Court directed the Centre to implement Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes quota in the category.
- In 2007, the Supreme Court allowed 15% Scheduled Caste reservation and a 7.5% Scheduled Tribe quota under the AIQ.
- Meanwhile, based on a central law favouring Backward Class reservation in educational institutions, the Union’s 27% OBC quota was introduced in central educational institutions. There was no move to implement OBC reservation in the AIQ category.
About the recent decision to provide reservation:
In the courts, the Medical Council of India has argued against OBC reservation, but the Union government said it was not averse to the reservation, subject to an overall 50% limit. This is because,
- The omission of OBC reservation in the AIQ seats was discriminatory. There were OBC seats in medical institutions run by the Centre, as well as State-specific quotas in those run by the States.
- The Madras High Court, in July 2020, held that there was no legal impediment to OBC reservation, but, given that the policy varied from State to State, it left it to the Centre to decide the modalities for quotas from this academic year.
Based on that, the Central Government has now announced that it will provide 27% reservation for OBCs and 10% reservation for the economically weaker section(EWS).