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IIT bosses cut up with HRD’s censorship

MUMBAI: Censorship. That is what directors of the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) are currently fighting after the Union human .....

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: Oct 2008
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Post IIT bosses cut up with HRD’s censorship

MUMBAI: Censorship. That is what directors of the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) are currently fighting after the Union human resource dev

elopment ministry decided to edit out their opinion against faculty reservation.

Access to the minutes of the high-level meeting of the standing committee of the IIT council (SCIC), through a right to information query, reveals that the opinion of the seven directors was cleverly masked by the HRD ministry. The minutes have left out one of the most crucial points aired by the IIT chiefs—that they were totally against the introduction of reservation in the recruitment policy for faculty members.

The SCIC had met on July 4 to discuss the all-important issue of introducing SC, ST and OBC reservation in recruiting faculty members. However, despite the directors’ opposition, the minutes did not incorporate the directors’ view. The SCIC meeting was chaired by C N R Rao, principal scientific advisor to the Prime Minister, and attended by all the seven IIT directors, R P Agarwal (MHRD secretary), V S Ramamurthy (chairman, board of governors, IIT Delhi), M Anandakrishnan (chairman, board of governors, IIT Kanpur), N K Sinha (MHRD joint secretary) and Seema Raj (director, technical education) among others.

This meeting was called for after the the HRD ministry sent a diktat to all IITs (dated June 9), asking them to set aside 15%, 7.5% and 27% quotas in teaching positions for the SC, ST and OBC categories respectively.

IITs currently have reservations for backward category candidates for administrative posts—from attendants to the level of deputy registrar. However, there is no reservation for faculty members in these premier technological institutes.

The ministry order read, “It has been decided to implement reservation for SC, ST, OBC, in recruitment to teaching (faculty) posts in IITs with immediate effect.’’ For subjects in science and technology, there would be reservation for posts of lecturers and assistant professors. In other areas, like management, social sciences and humanities, reservation would be applicable up to the professor level.

The government ruling allows the IITs to de-reserve the posts after a year, if they do not get filled “despite all efforts’’.

The SCIC minutes of the July meeting, a copy of which is available with this paper, stated that the directors did not want a distinction made between faculty of science and technology as against those who teach social sciences and humanities. “This clearly means that the directors were fine with reservation. However, we were and we (still) are not fine with reservation in recruiting faculty members,’’ said a director.

Further, as the last option, the minutes stated that the IIT directors haddemanded that their institutes be given special recognition as institutes of national importance. The topic of faculty reservation concluded by stating: “The government of India can take decisions on policies (sic) matters including reservations on its own.’’

Shocked at the way their opinions were kept out, IIT directors have taken up the matter with the SCIC chairman, who in turn has written to the ministry for a modification in the minutes.
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