Exempt IITs from caste reservations in faculty recruitment: Panel to Centre

Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) should be exempted from caste reservations for faculty appointments as they are institutes of national importance, proposes an expert panel appointed to recommend measures to better implement reservations at IITs.

In a report submitted to Rakesh Ranjan, additional secretary, department of higher education, Ministry of Education (MoE), on July 17, the committee proposed that the institutes be included in the list of ‘Institutes of Excellence’ which are exempted from caste-based reservations according to the Central Educational Institutions (Reservation in Teachers’ Cadre) Act (CEI Act) of 2019. The committee report, a copy of which has been accessed by HT, was recently released following a right to information (RTI) plea filed by an activist in Uttar Pradesh.

The eight-member committee was formed by the MoE in April to suggest measures for effective implementation of reservation rules in admission and faculty selection at IITs. V Ramgopal Rao, director IIT-Delhi and chairperson of the committee, said the report was final and refused to comment further. “It has been submitted to the ministry,” he said.

While the report does not remark on implementation of reservations in admissions to undergraduate and postgraduate courses, it proposes that since IITs were established under the Act of Parliament as institutions of national importance, they should be exempted from reservation rules in faculty recruitment.

“IITs ought to be listed under the Schedule to the CEI Act, 2019, for exemption from reservations,” the report stated. The list currently constitutes eight institutions including the Homi Bhabha National Institute and its five constituent institutes – Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Space Physics Laboratory and Indian Institute of Remote Sensing.

According to the Government of India (GoI) norms, 10% of all positions are reserved for candidates belonging to the economically weaker sections (EWS), 27% from other backward class (OBC) category, 15% for scheduled cast (SC) category, 7.5% for scheduled tribe (ST) category and 5% for candidates with physical disabilities.

The committee found that admissions to all academic undergraduate and postgraduate programmes were in line with the reservation guidelines of the government. The premier technology institutes were also following the norms of reservations in all non-faculty recruitments, the committee noted.

“To compete with other top institutions in the world in terms of excellence, output, research, and teaching, a system emphasising targeted goals over a period of time, rather than specific quotas, to address diversity issues through outreach campaigns, targeted recruitment, etc, is recommended,” the report added.

The report and its recommendations have been condemned by several student bodies across the country such as the Students Federation of India and All India OBC Students Association. “Ironically, the committee formed to study the violation of reservation norms in IITs has requested the government to add IITs to the class of reservation-exempted institutions in the country. The recommendation was especially on exempting IITs from fulfilling reservation norms in teaching faculty recruitment. The committee has also blatantly lied about IITs following reservation norms in all academic levels [UG and PG],” read a statement by the Ambedkar Periyar Phule Study Circle, demanding that the MoE reject the demand for IITs to be included in the list of reservation-exempted institutions.

BOX

What the panel recommends

The panel makes two kinds of recommendations for faculty recruitment:

– Exempt IITs from caste reservations as they are institutes of national importance

OR

– Reservations be applied for all categories including EWS to posts of assistant professor grade I and II filled as a whole during the year. Reservation should be applied to the institute as a whole rather than on individual departments.

2. The panel proposes a two-year preparatory programme for students willing to take admissions in the PhD programmes

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