Published: 23rd March 2021
Students, activists, academics write to the President about reservations not being followed in IITs
It is signed by many prominent people from the social and academic circle, including Ashwini Deshpande, Kannan Gopinathan, Jignesh Mevani, Prakash Karat and TM Krishna
A group of students, academics and activists from across the world are submitting a petition to President Ram Nath Kovind, asking him to immediately implement mandated reservations in faculty recruitment, PG courses and PhD admissions in all Indian Institutes of Technologies. Since 2019, there have been reports and data about how a majority of the seats and posts reserved for people from the SC, ST and OBC communities remain vacant in most of the IITs. It is signed by many prominent people from the social and academic circle, including Ashwini Deshpande, Kannan Gopinathan, Jignesh Mevani, Prakash Karat and TM Krishna.
The petition also seeks to calculate the missing SC and ST students since 1973 and missing OBC students since 2008 due to "non-implementation of reservation for all these years and layout an action plan to fill those many seats in the coming years." "From the data made available by the Education Minister in the Parliament in 2019, it is found that five IITs — Delhi, Bombay, Kanpur, Madras and Kharagpur have failed to meet the reservation norms for SC, ST and OBC categories in PhD admissions (with the exception of OBC quota in IIT Madras, which had 28 per cent OBC admissions). Another report, on the basis of data collected through the Right to Information (RTI) Act, presents a very disquieting picture as well. It is evident from the report that in four departments (Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Civil Engineering and Computer Science) of these five IITs, a total of 707 PhD seats were lost or missing for the reserved categories, with OBCs losing 247, SCs 254 and STs 206 during the period 2015-19," says the petition.
The petitioners ask to publish the yearly category-wise data on applications received, candidates called for and attending the interview, candidates offered admission and candidates admitted in all programmes in each of the IITs along with cut-off marks obtained by the admitted candidates. Another demand is the setting up of a permanent SC, ST, and OBC Cell at all IITs and limiting privatisation of MS/ PhD seats.
"IITs are among the ‘elite’ higher education institutions in the country built with the common people’s money and undertake high-quality research with huge funding from the public sector. The denial of the constitutional guarantees to the historically discriminated and marginalised groups in these institutes has significant socio-economic ramifications. Higher education and research are important means of achieving social mobility and overcoming social inequalities," it reads.