New Delhi: Only 35 per cent of students who are enrolled in minority engineering institutions belong to linguistic and religious minority communities, the Modi government has revealed.
In a written reply in Rajya Sabha Monday, the Ministry of Minority Affairs said that in the 83 engineering institutions — declared as minority institutions by the National Commission for Minority Educational Institutions (NCMEI) and approved by All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) — just 6,046 students from a total of 17,212 belong to minority communities.
While these institutions have an approved intake of 32,862 students, at present only 17,212 students are enrolled.
The reply was filed by the ministry in response to a question by BJP MP Rakesh Sinha.
In order to be established as an engineering college in the minority category (religious or linguistic), the institutions have to comply with AICTE norms and also need a government order from the state or union territory concerned or the NCMEI declaring them as minority institutions.
According to the NCMEI (Amendment Act) 2006, which lays down rights of these institutions, such colleges have the right “to admit any student of its own community” and also states that “non-minority students cannot be forced upon it”.
‘Fewer minority students reflective of their choice’
In an oral reply in Rajya Sabha, Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said: “All minority institutions can admit non-minority students as well. There is no ceiling on that.”
According to ministry officials, the data presented before Rajya Sabha was based on the numbers given by the AICTE.
“NCMEI and AICTE in the Ministry of Education are the concerned bodies dealing with minority institutes,” a senior ministry official, who did not wish to be named, told ThePrint.
The AICTE, however, said the numbers do not indicate discrimination but, instead, are reflective of choices of minority students.
“If minority students are themselves choosing to study in non-minority institutions, if they think that those institutions are better for them, we cannot stop them. We cannot force them to study in minority institutions,” Anil Sahasrabudhe, AICTE Chairman told ThePrint.
“If non-minority students want to study in these institutions we cannot stop them either. We cannot deprive students of their choice,” he added.
(Edited by Rachel John)