The Union Ministry of Education told the Parliament on August 2 that 41% of posts reserved for Scheduled Castes (SC) at central universities and research institutions continue to remain vacant. Dharmendar Pradhan, the Education Minister was responding to a query raised by Lok Sabha MP Dharmendra Pradhan on the total number of sanctioned and vacant posts for Scheduled Castes (SCs), Scheduled Tribes (STs) and other Backward Classes (OBCs) in all Central Universities and research institutions, and why the same have remained vacant.
The response was provided in the form of data as follows:
This indicates that 41% of posts reserved for SC teachers are vacant while 39.7% posts reserved for ST teachers are vacant. As for OBC, 55.94% of posts of teachers are still vacant.
Central Educational Institutions (Reservation in Teachers’ Cadre) Act, 2019 provides for reservation of posts in direct recruitment in teachers’ cadre in Central Educational Institutions by considering the University as a Unit.
The response may be read here:
Reservation scenario in centre-run universities
The Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) across the country have resisted offering reservation quota in their teaching positions and a committee appointed by the Ministry in April 2020 suggested that the 23 IITs should be exempted from reservations altogether should be added to the list of “Institutions of Excellence” mentioned in the Schedule of the Act. Section 4 of the Act exempts “institutions of excellence, research institutions, institutions of national and strategic importance” and minority institutions from providing reservation. The Schedule currently includes Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR), National Brain Research Centre (NBRC), North-Eastern Indira Gandhi Regional Institute of Health and Medical Science, Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research, Physical Research Laboratory, Space Physics Laboratory, Indian Institute of Remote Sensing and Homi Bhabha National Institute and all its 10 constituent units. Many have criticised these provisions for promoting upper caste superiority and for being violative of the right to equality under Article 14 of the Constitution.
Even the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) made a similar demand to the Ministry, in January 2020.
The 23 IITs reserve posts while recruiting faculty at the entry-level of Assistant Professor and not at senior faculty posts such as Associate Professor and Professor. In June 2021, a response to a Right to Information (RTI) application revealed that at IIT-B, only six (0.9%) of the 684 faculty positions are from SC community, one (0.1%) is from ST and 10 (1.5) from OBC category. At IIT-Madras, of the 596 faculty members, 16 (2.7%) are SC candidates, three (0.5%) are ST, while 62 (10.4%) are OBC, reported Hindustan Times. The data in the response revealed that none of the 22 IITs (information from IIT Mandi was unavailable) have more than six teachers belonging to the Scheduled Tribes (ST) community, while 18 of them have 10 or less candidates from the Scheduled Castes (SC) category on their faculty rolls.
Pawan Goenka, chairperson of the board of governors of IIT-Bombay and IIT-Madras, told HT, “Currently IITs have a fairly large number of vacancies which they are trying to fill but sufficient high-quality candidates have not been available across all categories. IITs need candidates with PhD, high-quality research papers, and good teaching ability. These have to largely come from within the top engineering colleges in India or good universities abroad. The number of PhD students graduating from the IITs, specially the older ones, has been increasing significantly in the past four years as a result of the increase in intake post 2011. I believe this will help to address the issue in the coming years.”
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