The Bihar government led by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has drawn up plans to reserve 33 per cent seats in state medical and engineering colleges for girl students. If approved, Bihar would become the first state in the country to do so. According to reports, the Nitish government is working to bring two new Bills, namely the Bihar Engineering Universities Bill and Bihar Medical Education Bill in the next Assembly session to give formal approval to the proposal. The move may get support even from the opposition members given the huge role played by women voters in the state.
Bihar has 2,035 engineering seats 38 colleges and 1,330 medical and BDS seats in 11 medical colleges run by the state government. Reports quoting a government official said that while the percentage of girls in government medical colleges is about 30 per cent, their representation in engineering colleges is very less at about 15 per cent.
CM Nitish Kumar said that the state is planning to open engineering colleges in every district while new medical colleges have also come up in some districts. “Let us reserve one-third of seats in medical and engineering colleges [for girls]. This will increase the number of girls in technical education. It will be a unique thing…. The whole idea is to ensure that Bihar students do not have to go out of the state for technical education,” he said at a review meeting.
The government also discussed a proposal to set up exclusive engineering and medical universities in the state. Nitish Kumar said that the move would help in better management of medical and engineering colleges. The government has proposed to set up four new universities.
Nitish Kumar’s earlier move of prohibiting liquor in the state and providing bicycles to the girl students have worked very well in his favour. The move to reserve seats for female students is also being touted as a political masterstroke by the chief minister. Reports said that this will help him in consolidating women votes leading to the creation of ‘caste neutral constituencies.
The NDA government led by Kumar had reserved 50 per cent seats for girls in primary schools and 35 per cent in secondary schools at the panchayat levels in 2006. The state had already reserved 35 per cent jobs for women in the police and 33 per cent in other government jobs. The government also provides a cash incentive of Rs 50,000 to girls who pass their graduation in order to encourage them to pursue higher education.