Published: 29th August 2020
97 percent posts for OBC professors lying vacant in Central Universities, reveals RTI
The UGC revealed that only 9 professors from the community were holding positions in Central Universities across the country despite 313 posts being sanctioned
An RTI seeking the percentage of OBC professors in 40 Central Universities has revealed that there are only nine posts that have been occupied by OBC professors despite 313 posts being sanctioned for the community. With Associate Professors, the percentage remains similar - only 38 posts have been filled when 735 posts have been sanctioned and when it comes to Assistant Professors, only 1327 occupy the 2232 posts sanctioned for the community.
Kiran Kumar Gowd, a PhD scholar from the University of Hyderabad decided to file an RTI to find out the percentage of OBC professors in Central Universities, IITs, IIMs and NITs. He did so after noticing the lack of OBC professors in the academic spaces that he himself was a part of. While he is yet to receive responses from individual institutions, the UGC granted him access to the numbers in Central Universities by way of an RTI reply.
Where have the teaching spots gone?
But the numbers we’ve mentioned above are not as shocking as the drastic and vast difference when compared to the actual number of positions that are reserved for the OBC community and the ones that get sanctioned. According to the recommendations of the Mandal Committee and subsequent constitutional amendments, 27 per cent of the seats are to be allotted to members of the OBC community.
Central Universities have a total of 2498 professor positions, now 27 per cent of these seats is 674 — however, only 313 are sanctioned positions and out of these there are only nine candidates who have been appointed to the positions. This leaves 304 sanctioned posts vacant. Now, when we consider Association Professor positions, out of the 5011 positions, 1352 constitutionally belong to the OBCs but only 735 posts have been sanctioned. And out of these, 38 have been filled and 697 remain vacant. That is a 94.82 per cent vacancy and in the professor’s post there is a 97.12 percentage vacancy. The Universities perform better only when it comes to the Assistant Professor positions, since they are the starting positions. There are 905 vacant posts out of 2232, showing a 40.54 per cent vacancy.
Anatomy of a missing reservation
Kiran said that he felt the need to file this RTI when he found that there were barely any teachers from the community who he knew. He noticed that even members of the SC, ST communities had a considerable number of representatives but OBCs didn’t figure prominently. When he heard about the VCs of IIMs planning to write to the government seeking for the OBC reservations to be undone, Kiran knew he had to get numbers to prove that the issue is of utmost importance that the OBC reservations remain in place. “There is no demand for the proper implementation of these reservations because there are no people in the faculty to even bring forward such an issue. So when there is no one to raise, how are people going to know that such an injustice is taking place?” he asks.
Watching PhD holders from the community applying for constable jobs was also what pushed Kiran to get his hands on the numbers, “I don’t mean to degrade the job in any way. But you don’t see too many upper caste candidates applying for these jobs. They are heavily represented in Central Universities as well as in private universities.The employment opportunities fall critically for the OBCs. This only goes to show that casteism continues to decide the lives of a majority of the country.”
Kiran, the President of the All Indian OBC Students Association, points out that their opportunities are either being diluted or diverted, “The University notifies the public about these positions thrice, if no one comes forward, then these positions get converted into positions for the general category. The figures that we are getting from some IITs, IIMs show us even more deplorable numbers.”
One major problem, the scholar and many other educators and activists in the past have cited is that while OBC candidates might make it into the Universities in the Assistant Professor position, very few get promoted to higher positions. So, there is no upward movement of these candidates. Scores of teachers have alleged that they have faced discrimination in these campuses, especially since their promotion is usually left to the professors and administrators from other castes.
“Today, there are so many from the SC, ST communities that have a much higher intellectual capacity than the OBCs. Because the SC, ST professors are able to use their opportunities, they are also creating material and strong literature to uplift their communities. But the OBCs are missing out on research and collaboration opportunities. They are unable to produce work that would impact their communities and educate them about these injustices because we simply don’t have enough representation and opportunities,” he explained. He points out that recent reports have shown that for many competitive exams, the pass percentage for the Economically Weaker Section category is lower than for OBCs, despite the former never facing any social oppression, “Social justice is simply not a reality.”
What comes next?
The scholar has now written to the National Commission for Backward Classes with the response to his RTI. He has made two requests to the Commission — one, he demands the application of 27 percent reservation in all teaching posts that will ‘rectify’ the injustice done to the community. Second, he demanded the immediate filling of OBC sanctioned posts through a special recruitment drive. On behalf of the Association, Kiran will also write to the MoE and the Prime Minister, “We hope the issue will be addressed immediately. If it is not addressed, then we will rise together in a democratic manner to protest. Otherwise the government will face a setback.” He also wants to write to the VCs who are planning on opposing the reservations, the student said.
The Political Science scholar feels that the Centre has made it clear that they support reservations but he argues that they have not done enough to ensure its implementation. “It is on paper but there is no execution. If they really want us to believe what they are saying, then they have to show it in their actions,” he adds, “We have the numbers now to prove our point. So continuing in this manner would only mean they are anti-OBC.”