Sunday, April 13, 2008

Ekalavya gets into a B-School...

We continue with our Parable of Modern-Day Ekalavya...

Thanks to the recent Supreme Court judgement, Ekalavya had applied and got into a B-school through the "OBC quota" seats

...and immediately hit the glass ceiling described as "Criteria specified in Category VI" in the Supreme Court judgement!!

He could get the admission, because he had qualified, because he belonged to the "reserved" OBC category, and because he did not belong to the "creamy layer" criteria specified in the judgement.

His parents did not fall in the categories of Constitutional Posts, i.e.,

  • President of India
  • Vice-President of India
  • Judges of the Supreme Court and of the High Courts
  • Chairman and Members of UPSC and of the State Public Service Commission
  • Chief Election Commissioner
  • Comptroller and Auditor-General of India
  • Persons holding constitutional positions of similar nature as above

    He was also not the progeny of those falling into the Service Category or the category of Armed Forces including Paramilitary Forces, i.e.,
  • Class I & II officers in Central or State services
  • Class I & II officers who may have expired or suffered permanent incapacitation, but had the benefit of employment in any International Organisation like UN, IMF, World bank, etc., for a period of not less than 5 years, prior to that.
  • Employees in Public Sector Undertakings
  • Officers holding equivalent or comparable posts in PSUs, Banks, Insurance Organisations, Universities, etc. (and also to equivalent or comparable posts and positions under private employment, pending the evaluation of the posts on equivalent or comparable basis in these institutions)
  • Persons who hold the rank of Colonel and above in the Army and to equivalent posts in the Navy and the Air Force and the Paramilitary Forces

    In any case the above would not have qualified for reservations due to the "Criteria specified in Category VI"...
    (yes, yes, I am coming to what this criteria is... Let there be some suspence to the story! ;0)

    This "Criteria specified in Category VI", however, did apply to the sons and daughters of other categories.

    For instance, it applied to sons and daughters of Professional Class and those engaged in Trade and Industry, e.g.,
  • Persons engaged in profession as a doctor, lawyer, chartered accountant, income tax consultant, financial or management consultant, dental surgeon, engineer, architect, computer specialist, film artists and other film professional, author, playwright, sports person, sports professional, media professional or any other vocations of like status
  • Persons engaged in trade, business and industry

    ...and it also applied to the progeny of the Property Owners, e.g.,
  • persons belonging to a family (father, mother and minor children) which owns only irrigated land which is equal to or more than 85% of the statutory ceiling area (which is 25 acres), etc.
  • owners of coffee, tea, rubber,mango,citrus, apples, etc., plantations
  • owners of vacant land and/or buildings in urban agglomerations

    But, what was this "Criteria specified in Category VI"?

    This was the final "Income/Wealth Test", meant to exclude the "creamy layer" - it excluded people coming from families with sufficient financial means. Based on the famous Indra Sawhney (Mandal) SC Judgement, this criteria excluded sons and daughters whose parents had an annual income of more than Rs 2.5lacs (Rs, 250,000).

    Happily and fortunately, this criteria, which would have excluded him from admissions, did not apply to Ekalavya. He did not belong to the "creamy layer". His parents did not hold Constitutional Posts, or were in the Service Category. They were also not in the Professional Class, or engaged in Trade and Industry, with an annual income exceeding Rs 2.5lacs. And, of course, they owned no property, as described in the judgement.

    But Ekalavya was crestfallen and dejected - actually shattered - when I met him.

    "There is no way, I can get into this B-School," he told me.

    "But why?", I asked him. "You have qualified, and you are not in the "creamy layer"."

    "But where will I get the money to pay the fee?"

    "What's the problem?", I said. "You can get education loan from a bank, can't you? Everyone says how simple education loans are nowadays. And you can pay that back once you get the job. Look at the average B-school salaries these days!"

    "But do you know? The IIMs almost doubled up their fee just a week before the Judgement." he spat. "It is close to Rs 10lacs now... Other will follow soon, I am sure."

    "How does that matter to you?", I could not comprehend. "What is Rs. 10lacs? You can get the education loan, and pay it back when you get the job. After all, your salary package will compensate for the fee hike."

    "Yes, this is what everyone tells me. Once in the job, you can easily cover your costs." he said. "But you need money to get into, and through, a B-school, don't you?."

    It was then that he shared the glass ceiling - or the Combo of B-school Fee Hike and India Banks' Association's Model Education Loan Scheme for Pursuing Higher Education in India, which is followed by all banks with minor modifications.

    "Not being from the "creamy layer"", he said, "I need to take a loan of at least more than Rs 7.5lacs (The max recommended limit is Rs 10lacs) to pay the fee. I also need money to live and eat during those two years. But that loan requires as, the document says, "co-obligation of parents together with tangible collateral security of suitable value"."

    tangible collateral security of suitable value!! What is that!!?

    I read through the Model Education Loan Scheme about the collateral security. It read:
    "The security can be in the form of land/ building/ Govt. securities/ Public Sector Bonds/Units of UTI, NSC, KVP, life policy, gold, shares/mutual fund units/debentures, bank deposit in the name of student/ parent/ guardian or any other third party with suitable margin."

    Ekalavya glared at me. "Please tell me,", he challenged. "...all you who keep talking about "creamy layer". I am not the "creamy layer" and therefore, I am entitled to what you call "reservations". But also because I am not the "creamy layer", the banks would not give me loan to see me through my education."

    No! I have no anwers for Ekalavya. Maybe only a solace that, OBC or not, - on the income criteria - more than 95% people in this country do no belong to the "creamy layer"!


    sarkywoman said...

    This really opened my eyes. That's another way of looking at the "creamy layer".

    But, the IIM's aren't quite sure if they fall under the category of educational institutes that have to give quota for the OBC candidates.

    So, maybe it wont matter, either way.

    Madhukar said...

    Not really!.. IIMs, IITs are "central government" educational insttns, and are going to apply the reservations this coming academic year...

    sarkywoman said...

    OK. . So, the reservations aren't really helping them . . What we need is scholarships. . instead of reservations.

    L said...

    The post about educational loans- This is a problem faced by not only OBC/BC/SC but by OC students also.. The banks give large loans to businessmen whose business may fail. They can easily give loans to students in IIMs . All you need is a bond by the student that he will pay once he gets a job and they can make it a condition that he/ she works in India till the loan is paid up so that they can catch him/her if he defaults. The Institute placement can also cooperate with the banks and help recover the loan once the student gets a job. I am sure there must be mny legal ways they can make him pay back. Banks should realise that default will be very rare amongst such students who have a bright future-- they would not endanger their future by defaulting on their loans..

    Dhiman said...

    Thanks for this posting. Few days back, this was exactly our point of discussion elsewhere. Your blog strengthens our logic.


    John Smith said...

    I think that this story is a good example of quoting out of context in a blog environment.
    IIMA clearly states that the fees is UPTO 12 lacs per year, with students with parents having an income of less than 3 lacs qualifying for a full fee waiver.

    YOu need to research a lot before you decide on your university and aid.

    actually, there are places on the net where you get lots of info about an MBA and Aid and everything else.

    Madhukar said...

    @John Smith
    thanks for the comment - here and elsewhere.

    IIMA says it will waiver full fee (tution and non-tution) for students coming from income background of less than one lac. It will give 82% "tution fee" waiver for those between 1 and 2 lac (The "non-tution fee" is Rs2.5 lac)... and then upto Rs 6 lac, the waiver will be in graded manner.

    IIMA sugarcoats fee hike with 'fee-waiver' scheme

    re your suggestion that I "need to research a lot before you decide on your university and aid", I am afraid I am past that age now... have been teaching management for close to 30 years :)

    arrowhead said...

    this post clarifies one of the paradoxes that we have in our system.
    When I cleared my entrance exam, I didn't want to bother my parents about money and will take an education loan.

    Then I approached the bank and they said ...why not ? taking an education loan is so easy .. just pay us a margin money of 5 % + insurance .. and show us the proof of some kind of collateral (FD/property) ..and we will give you the loan ..

    Since I had to take care of my living expenses for 2 years as well .. I had no other choice then to revert to my parents for this money .. (around 1 lakh + proof of collateral).

    Though I must add the process was fast and convenient (perks of getting admit to a good b-school I guess ) ...the point remains ...
    "to get money need to have money"

    and I am sure enough Eklavyas have to dispense with their dreams because of this paradox.