FILE PHOTO: Congress President Sonia Gandhi at Rajghat. (Photo: PTI)
Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Friday wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi urging him to extend reservation for OBC candidates in the all-India quota of medical and dental seats in colleges run by states and union territories.
She said that reservation for OBC candidates under the all-India quota in the medical entrance examination NEET is currently restricted to central institutions.
Supporting her demand, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said "affirmative action is vital for social justice".
"I strongly support the Congress President's demand to extend the reservation for OBCs in All India Quota of medical and dental seats, in State/UT Govt medical education institutions also," he tweeted.
Sonia Gandhi said under the all-India quota in medical education institutions run by the Centre and states, 15 per cent, 7.5 per cent and 10 per cent of the seats are reserved for Scheduled Caste (SC), Scheduled Tribe (ST) and Economically Weaker Section (EWS) candidates respectively.
"However, reservation for OBC candidates under All India Quota is restricted to central institutions. As per the data compiled by the All India Federation of Other Backward Classes, since 2017, OBC candidates lost over 11,000 seats, in All India Quota, due to non-implementation of OBC reservations in State/UT Medical education institutions," she wrote to the prime minister.
"Denial of reservations to OBCs in state medical institutions in All India Quota, being administered by the Government of India, violates the very objective of the 93rd Constitutional Amendment and is a barrier to access medical education for deserving OBC candidates.
"In the interest of equity and social justice, I strongly urge the Union Government to extend reservation for OBC candidates in All India Quota of medical and dental seats, even in the State/UT Medical education institutions," she said.
The Congress president said the 93rd Constitutional Amendment envisages special provisions for the advancement of any socially and educationally backward classes of citizens or for the Scheduled Castes or the Scheduled Tribes in admission to educational institutions including private educational institutions, whether aided or unaided by the State, other than minority educational institutions.
The National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) is conducted for admission to undergraduate medical courses.