India has achieved significant increase in enrolment to higher education over the last decade. However, there is serious dissonance in terms of relative access by different sections of its population. There is a valid perception that discriminatory practices often impinge compromise on quality. This paper argues that it is possible to ensure excellence while providing improved access to students from SC/ST through a policy of reservation. The paper brings out a unique experiment in Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences (KISS), Odisha where there is remarkable convergence between all-round excellence through empathetic intervention. Concrete measures like vibrant Public Private Partnership (PPP), increased allocation, inflow of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) by collaborating with reputed foreign universities and use of ICT and Open Distance Learning (ODL) & above all a more sensitive regulatory agency can be powerful recipes for achieving the goals of higher inclusive growth, Improved Human Development Index (HDI) and higher Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) (25%) in higher education.
Keywords: Affirmative Action, FDI, GER, HDI, ICT, KISS Odisha, ODL
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