A panel comprising directors of the Indian Institute of Technology (IITs) and others recommended that the 23 engineering institutions should be exempted from caste-based reservations Central Educational Institutions (CEI) Act, 2019 for faculty recruitment.
Rather than specific quotas, diversity issues must be addressed through various campaigns, the eight-member committee suggested. This would help the institutions to compete with other top institutions in the world in terms of excellence, output, research, and teaching, the committee added.
The committee was appointed by the government in April, for recommending measures for effective implementation of reservation in student admission and faculty appointment.
The five-page report to the Ministry of Education (MoE) was submitted on June 17. The copy was made available on Wednesday, December 16 under Right To Information Act through an application filed in Uttar Pradesh, The Indian Express reported.
Since IITs were established under the Act of Parliament as institutions of national importance, they should be exempted from reservation rules in faculty recruitment, the report proposed.
"Being established and recognised as institutions of national importance under an Act of Parliament, IITs ought to be listed under (clause 4) of the CEI (Reservation in Teacher's Cadre) Act 2019, for exemption from reservations," the report as quoted.
According to Clause 4 of the Act, institutions of excellence, research institutions and institutions of national importance are exempted from granting caste-based reservation in faculty hiring.
Currently, the institutes listed under the clause include 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 ten constituent units in Mumbai.
Give Reservations, But...
The committee gave its recommendations in two parts. As an alternative to Part A, suggestion complete exemption, the panel suggested that reservation should only be given at Assistant Professor level, while Associate Professors and Professors should be exempted.
"Vacancies not filled up with an 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 the PhD students belonging from the reserved category, the panel recommended a two-year 'preparatory programme' to be started in the IITs, funded by Department of Social Justice and Empowerment.
Criticism By Student Bodies
The report and the recommendations have been highly criticised by several student bodies across the country, including Students Federation of India and All India OBC Student Association. They say the panel that was made to look into the violation of reservation norms in the IITs has asked the institutions to be exempted from reservations.