New Delhi: The chairperson for the National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC) has hit out at recommendations made by a government committee to exempt IITs from implementing reservations while hiring staff and faculty at its 23 engineering colleges in India.
Speaking to ThePrint Wednesday, NCBC chairperson Bhagwan Lal Sahni said the commission will take up the issue with the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE).
“IITs (Indian Institutes of Technology) are government-funded institutes. How can they be exempted from this fundamental government policy? It is an inappropriate recommendation to make,” he said.
“In fact, there is a case to investigate if they even fill reserved seats for SCs, STs and OBCs at the level of faculty and staff, or if they simply use the ‘Not found suitable (NFS)’ provision to circumvent reservation,” he added.
Sahni said the recommendation, if implemented, will be “damaging” for backward communities across the country.
“Is there any guarantee that IIT campuses are free of caste discrimination? Can they give that guarantee before asking for removing reservation?”
Additionally, Sahni said, efforts should be made to ensure representation and diversity in the selection committees of these colleges as well, which are responsible for the recruitment of faculty.
An eight-member committee had in June recommended that IITs be exempted from reservations altogether under the Central Educational Institutions (Reservation in Teachers’ Cadre) Act 2019. The panel had been appointed by the government to come up with recommendations to make the implementation of reservation in student admissions and faculty appointments more effective.
The committee had proposed that instead of quotas, issues of diversity must be addressed through outreach campaigns and targeted recruitment of faculty.
At present, while there are reservations for faculty recruitment at the entry level of assistant professors, there is no reservation for SC/ST/OBC at senior faculty posts of associate professors and professors.
If the colleges are unable to find suitable SC, ST and OBC candidates at the entry level, they can open these positions up for general category candidates under the NFS provision that Sahni referred to.
Last year, the education ministry ordered IITs to extend reservations to the positions of associate professors and professors, a recommendation the institutes have routinely resisted, citing their inability to find suitable candidates.