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IITs should be exempt from caste-based reservations in faculty hirings, panel tells govt

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A panel comprising Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) directors and others has suggested that the institutions should be exempted from adhering to caste-based reservations for faculty appointments, ThePrint has learnt.

In a report submitted to the government in June, the panel notes that IITs should be exempted from reservations because they were “institutes of national importance and are involved in research”.

“Being established and recognised as institutions of national importance under an Act of Parliament, IITs have ought to be listed under (clause 4) of the CEI (Reservation in Teacher’s Cadre) Act 2019, for exemption from reservations,” the report, accessed by ThePrint, states.

“The matter of reservation in these institutes may be vested with their respective Board of Governors to deal with as per board resolutions, statutes and byelaws.”

According to the Clause 4 of the CEI Act, institutions of excellence, research institutions and institutions of national and strategic importance are exempted from granting caste-based reservation in faculty hiring.

At present, eight institutions are listed under the clause — the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research in Mumbai, National Brain Research Centre in Gurgaon, North-Eastern Indira Gandhi Regional Institute of Health and Medical Science in Shillong, Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research in Bengaluru, Physical Research Laboratory in Ahmedabad, Space Physics Laboratory in Thiruvananthapuram, Indian Institute of Remote Sensing in Dehradun and Homi Bhabha National Institute and all its 10 constituent units in Mumbai.

ThePrint reached the education ministry for a comment on the panel’s report but no response was received till the time of publishing. However, a source in the ministry said, “The report submitted by the IIT panel is being examined, and appropriate action will be taken accordingly.”

Reservations only for ‘Associate Professor’

The committee gave its suggestions in two parts, noting that if Part A could not be implemented then Part B could be considered.

As an alternative to the first suggestion of complete exemption, the panel recommends that reservation should only be given at the level of Assistant Professor while Associate Professors and Professors should be exempted.

“Vacancies not filled up with adequate representation of SC/ST/OBC/EWS candidates during a year due to the non-availability of suitable candidates of these categories may be allowed to be de-reserved next year with the approval of the appointing authority of faculty positions, i.e. Board of Governors,” the report states.

For attracting suitable PhD candidates from the reserved category, the panel suggests that a two-year “preparatory programme” should be started in the IITs, funded by Department of Social Justice and Empowerment, for aspiring reserved category students.

The committee was formed by the Ministry of Education in April to look into the “effective implementation” of reservation in IITs for the undergraduate, postgraduate and PhD programmes as well as recruitment of faculty and non-faculty.

It consists of IIT Delhi Director Ramagopal Rao, IIT Kanpur Director Abhay Karandikar and secretaries from departments of social justice, tribal affairs and personnel and training.

The committee met twice on 1 May and 12 May via video conference to discuss and deliberate their agenda. They reviewed the earlier orders of the HRD ministry on the subject, looked at therecent communications on following the reservation and examined the practices being adopted by IITs in faculty reservation, to form the report.

Last year in November, the education ministry had written to all IITs, Indian Institutes of Management and Indian Institutes of Science Education and Research to implement reservation in faculty hiring.