Rajya Sabha: BJP, AAP MPs defend discretionary quota for admissions to Kendriya Vidyalayas

Days after Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan called for a debate over the continuation of the MP quota in Kendriya Vidyalaya’s admission, interventions by BJP and opposition party members in the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday indicated that any step to increase the quota will meet with strong resistance.

The matter came up in the Senate after BJP MP Sushil Modi wanted to know whether the government plans to end the discretionary quotas of MPs and district magistrates across the country. Secretary of State for Education Annapurna Devi replied that a decision will be made based on consultation with all MPs.

“A decision (on increasing the quota per MP or removing it) will be taken after consultation with leaders of all parties. The Ministry of Education will consider all suggestions,” Devi told the Rajya Sabha, responding to a series of questions from members.

According to the government’s response to a written inquiry from Modi, in the year 2021-22, 7301 students including SC-609, ST-212, OBC-1811 and EWS-55 have been admitted into KVs through MP quotas.

The response also shows that the discretionary quota of the Minister of Education in this regard has not been used in 2021-22. In 2020-21, 12,295 students – including 1105 SC, 157 ST, 2911 OBC and 190 EWS – were admitted through the minister’s quota.

Modi posed an additional question and specifically wanted to know whether the government also plans to abolish the discretionary quotas for admissions available from the district magistrates. The annual student intake through the DM quota is around 22,000, Modi said.

AAP MP Sanjay Singh said the quota under which each MP can recommend 10 admissions was not enough to meet the demand of their voters, an observation echoed by BJP MP Vivek Thakur.

“Parents whose children are able to study in Goenka General Practice or Delhi Public School do not come to us. Poor people do,” Thakur said, suggesting that the minister’s unused quota be shared among MPs so that their discretionary quota would increase.

Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan, an autonomous body under the Ministry of Education, oversees the 1,248 KVs spread across 36 states and Union Territories. More than 14,35,562 students study in these central government schools.

Official figures show that, despite the Education Minister not using his discretionary quota for admissions in 2021-22, the number of admissions through other quotas, including that of MPs and DMs, among others, stood at 1,75,261 last year.

Sajal Jain
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