Thiruvananthapuram: When the first allotment list of Plus-One admission was published, it has transpired that there were not enough applicants for seats reserved for the Economic Weaker Sections (ESW) of forward castes. More consequentially, this phenomenon has been noticed more in districts suffering from an acute shortage of seats.
Out of the 16,711 seats removed from open general seats across the state, only 7,744 seats have been allotted. The remaining 8,967 seats are lying vacant – a clear indication that the candidates eligible ESW, as per the government classification, would have already secured seats under the merit quota. As per recent constitutional amendments and subsequent orders by the state government, a quota of 10 per cent has been earmarked for candidates belonging to ESW sections of upper classes (meaning communities not eligible for other reservations).
It has also been found that the most number of unclaimed seats exist under ESW category in Malappuram district where only 38.24 per cent of total applicants were able to secure seats. This year 2,712 seats were transferred from open merit to forward caste quota. Only 377 claimants were there for this and all of them got seats, leaving 2,335 seats vacant under this category. It also translates into only 13.9 per cent applicants for the forward class seats.
What is striking is that it is in a district where students are in a scramble for seats that such a large number of seats were originally allocated and now run short of takers.
In Kannur district the ESW seats number 1,746, but eligible applicants among forward castes were only 425, meaning 1,321 seats remain vacant as of now. In Kozhikode district the total number of ESW reserved seats is 1,560 but only 795 applicants were there.
In Palakkad district, the situation is not much different, with 1,548 available seats and applicants numbering only 576, i.e. 972 seats remain vacant. In Kasargod it is 1,026 available with allotment only for 305, and 721 remain vacant.
The district with most number of allotment under forward reserved seats is Thiruvananthapuram, i.e. 1,234 but again short of the quota of 1504 seats. In Kollam it is 1,185 quota and 1,109 allotments which in percentage terms is the highest.
On the whole, 16,711 seats that were available under merit quota were transferred to forward caste reservation this year, and thus candidates from other communities who would have secured seats in open quota, now stand to lose.
It is however learned that the total 8,967 of unallotted ESW seats will be shifted to merit quota in the next round of allocations. That may cause difficulty for a section of students to appear for the second round again only to upgrade their seats to schools or streams of their higher preference.