Sunday, November 12, 2006
Moily committee recommendation worsens inequity?
- it should be preceded by correction mechanisms.
Chitta Baral, Professor, Arizona State University. firstname.lastname@example.org
How can it be?
The Moily committee was established to figure out ways to implement
additional reservations for OBC categories in various centrally
funded institutions across India in such a way that the number of
seats currently available for the general category students does not
The Moily committee has come up with a road map of extending the
capacity of the various centrally funded educational institutions
by 54%. For the existing institutions it gives an estimate of
additional expenditure so that these institutions can increase
their intake by 54% without affecting their quality parameters
such as student-teacher ratio.
The pages 84-86 of the Moily committee report – available in the
planning commission web site – lists the various centrally funded
institutions under its purview and estimated expenditure for those
institutions. We used that data to see how much the Moily committee
recommends spending in various states of India. In this we focused
on the HRD ministry funded institutions and did not consider the
medical and the agricultural institutions as they are funded by
other ministries. Moreover the existing inequity in medical spending
is being corrected through the establishment of 6 new AIIMS-like
institutions and upgradation of several existing institutions.
We found that the committee recommends spending Rs. 97.94 per person
across India. Among the states, the expenditure per person is
highest in Delhi (Rs. 1685.64) followed by Uttaranchal (Rs.
585.16), Tripura (Rs. 158.72), Himachal Pradesh (Rs. 128.3), Assam
(Rs. 127.52), Meghalaya (Rs. 122.92), West Bengal (Rs. 122.09),
Jharkhand (Rs. 117.48), UP (Rs. 110.99), Manipur (Rs. 109.43) and
Mizoram (Rs. 98.29). On the bottom end Arunachal Pradesh, Goa and
Sikkim have zero estimated expenditure, followed by Bihar (Rs.
13.13), Andhra Pradesh (Rs. 24.46), Rajasthan (Rs. 25.08), Gujarat
(Rs. 30.82), Orissa (Rs. 33.59), Kerala (Rs. 49.24), Madhya Pradesh
(Rs. 49.35), Maharashtra (Rs. 59.67), Haryana (Rs. 62.84),
Chhatisgarh (Rs. 70.51), Nagaland (Rs. 70.86), Punjab (Rs. 81.06),
Karnataka (Rs. 91.96), Tamil Nadu (Rs. 97.36) and Jammu & Kashmir
(Rs. 97.76). The spreadsheet that calculates these numbers is
available at http://www.equitableindia.org.
The above numbers are additional expenditure estimate in lieu of the 54%
increase in seats and do not include the regular expenditure. The
regular expenditures are not easily available as in the Indian
budget the expenditure for all IITs are given as a single number,
and the same is true with respect to the IIMs, the NITs, and the
central universities. Nevertheless, the above numbers give a good
idea of the later numbers.
In the past, news items such as Chetan Chauhan's November 4th
article in Hindustan Times gave some partial information of inequity
in state wise higher education funding and its impact. In that
article he says: "as many as 20 per cent of urban youth are enrolled
in colleges as compared to just 7.9 per cent in rural India. Orissa,
which gets dismal allocation for higher education from the Centre,
has only 4.1 per cent rural youth enrolled. Similar pattern is
observed in Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Rajasthan. The
exceptions are the north-eastern states, where most universities are
funded by the Central Government, with overall higher education
enrolment figure close to 40 per cent." Using the Moily committee
numbers, for the first time an average citizen can get a clear idea
on how India has discriminated and continues to discriminate among
its states with respect to HRD spending on centrally funded
institutions. Thus, unless balancing mechanisms are used the Moily
committee recommendation further worsens the existing inequity.
Fortunately, there have been second hand indications that the HRD
ministry may take some balancing actions. In particular, three IITs
have proposed branch campuses with the aim to make them full-fledged
IITs with similar number of students within a few years: Besides a
proposal for a research campus in Kolkata, IIT Kharagpur has
proposed a branch campus in Bhubaneswar, Orissa; IIT Madras has
proposed a branch campus in Kerala; and IIT Bombay has proposed a
branch campus in Gandhinagar, Gujarat. We sincerely hope that the
HRD ministry formally approves and announces these initiatives at
the earliest so that subsequent approval of the Moily committee
recommendations will not be seen as worsening the inequitable
distribution of HRD money in centrally funded institutions. In
addition similar initiatives must be made with respect to Bihar,
Andhra Pradesh and Rajasthan, the other three big states at the
bottom of the HRD spending figure. The established IIMs, many of
which are having difficulty in finding adjoining space for
expansion, should follow the lead of IIT Kharagpur, Madras and
Bombay and consider establishing branch campuses in other states.
Finally, we hope that the planning commission and the HRD ministry
will notice the correlation and causal connection between the higher
education enrollment figure of close to 40 percent in the north east
states and the fact that most universities in those states are
centrally funded, and adopt a similar approach to the backward and
super backward districts of India. In particular, they should plan
the establishment of multi-campus (a la Delhi University and
Allahabad University) distributed central universities in backward
district clusters of India.