Plot against Biharis

The Centre's reported move to hike the qualifying marks in Plus II exams for IIT-JEE from 60% to 80% had the Bihar political parties unitedly sitting up and chorusing it would hurt Biharis the most.


Chief minister Nitish Kumar wasted no time in shooting off a letter to Union human resources development minister Kapil Sibal, seeking a rethink. "It is a conspiracy against poor Bihari students, who have been cracking the IIT-JEE wholesale in recent years," said RJD supremo Lalu Prasad, who, too, shot off a protest letter to Sibal.


In his letter, Nitish said the hiked qualifying marks would result in the exclusion of students from the backward regions of the country. "Under the existing system, a larger pool of students, from different socio-economic backgrounds, write the IIT entrance test. This also explains the better performance of students from backward regions in the JEE."


Maintaining that the proposal would favour students from an elite background and discriminate against those with a poor socio-economic status, Nitish said: "Any examination should be inclusive. Any change in the existing examination system will have far-reaching consequences, which are unwarranted," he said, requesting the Union minister to reconsider the proposed change.


Lalu, a former CM, said: "Anguish and frustration have gripped the students and guardians in Bihar. You will appreciate that the marks/grading system is not uniform throughout India and varies from board to board and state to state. The Bihar School Examination Board does not award as high marks as CBSE or ICSE. Yet, many of its students crack IIT-JEE," he said, insisting that the government would inflict great injustice on such students.


BJP also reacted strongly. "Sibal should first go to the villages and see the merit of students there. When there is already an entrance exam, why this Laxman Rekha?" asked senior BJP leader Janardan Singh Sigriwal.


State Congress president Anil Kumar Sharma, however, refused to go against the move of his party's government at the Centre. "Competitiveness has increased so much so that even students scoring 80% find it difficult to get a berth in quality institutes these days," he said, adding that Biharis will not certainly be affected because they do not lack merit.


TNN 21 October 2009