The protest by medical students and doctors to the move to hike reservations for OBCs in higher educational institutions has not led to a rethink. But it has certainly prompted some moves to ensure that deserving students are not completely sidelined. The Prime Minister has set up a four-member cabinet team to come up with a formula that will be more acceptable.
But what is the solution? Should the number of IITs be increased to 70, as suggested by Knowledge Commisison chief Sam Pitroda? Should the number of seats in colleges be increased to accommodate meritorious students, as proposed by many, including Arjun Singh?
Is more merrier? Or will increasing seats kill our institutions, as feared by IIM-A board member, N.R. Narayana Murthy? Will having to add another 22,000 seats spell disaster to academic standards, not to speak of the campus atmosphere?
Is affirmative action like in the US the solution? Instead of blanket reservations should we give weightage to OBCs, as practised in Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) and as suggested by sociologist Dipankar Gupta? Join the debate.