Reservation in India was started with an aim to bring up the neglected and underprivileged communities of the country in every field and minimize the gap between the higher caste people. The primary communities that get benefit under reservation system of the constitution are Scheduled Castes (SC), Scheduled Tribes (ST) and Other Backward Classes (OBC). For getting an increased opportunity in higher education, seats are also reserved for the underprivileged communities of the country. The reservation system in higher education in India is divided in various categories.
- Reservation on the basis of Caste-
The central government and the state government have made the allocation of seats in educational institutes for the Scheduled Castes (SC), Scheduled Tribes (ST) and Other Backward Classes (OBC) in various ratios. The educational institutes that are funded by the central government have allotted a reservation of 22.5% of total seats for the Scheduled Castes (SC) and Scheduled Tribes (ST). In addition to this 27% of total seats is also reserved for the Other Backward Classes (OBC). The percentage in reservation of seats in State run educational institutes differs from state to state. For example in West Bengal the rules for reservation in government aided educational institutes are 22% for Scheduled Castes (SC) and 6% for Scheduled Tribes (ST) and 7% for the OBC categories.
- Religion based reservation-
To uplift the people of Muslim and Christian religion, the central and state run educational institutes have also allotted a percentage of seats. There is also a reservation of 50% of total seats in religious minority educational institutes for the Muslims and Christians. For example in the state of Tamil Nadu 3.5% of the totals seat in a state run educational institute are reserved for the Muslim and the Christian religion.
The high economic people in India enjoy the share of seats in management quota in higher educational institutes. Anyone who has sufficient money can buy these seats irrespective of the caste and religion. Many of the recognized higher education institutes in India reserve a 15% of total seats to be filled as management quota.
A variety of programs have been initiated by the government of India to provide education to the girls and women. For an instance, many of the law colleges in India have a seat reservation of 30% for the girls. For example the Bihar Engineering Board of the state allots 3% of the total seats in engineering, medical and pharmacy for the girls.
- Reservation for NRIs in Higher Education Institutes-
Some of the colleges and universities offering higher education reserve a quota of 15% seats for NRIs in Gulf countries. For example in Bangalore seats are reserved in engineering, medical and M.B.A colleges for students of Indian origin but have migrated to other countries.
Reservation system in higher educational institutes in India has received different opinions from different people. A category of people feels that some of the meritorious students are deprived of getting admission in top colleges due to reservation systems.