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IITs Defy Quota, Deny Seats to SC, ST & OBC at Faculty & PhD Level: RTI Data

Let’s take a look at what the data from the RTI response indicates about SC/ST/OBC representation across IITs.

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"No ST and OBC faculty at IIT Bombay were recruited in 2023."

"16 departments at IIT Bombay did not take a single student belonging to the Scheduled Tribe (ST) community during PhD admissions for 2023-24."

"No ST student was admitted in five departments at IIT Bombay in the last nine years."

This data was shared by Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay student group Ambedkar Periyar Phule Study Circle (APPSC) based on a Right to Information (RTI) response received on 6 February this year.  

In a post shared on microblogging platform X on Tuesday, 9 April, the student group alleged that IIT Bombay “is violating reservation norms despite the MMR [Mission Mode Recruitment] announcement."

The next day, IIT Bombay responded to the post on X saying, "The figures in the tweet are incorrect. Correct figures for Faculty Recruitment are: 27 SC, 6 ST, 29 OBC NC, 1 EWS - total offered since 2021. Many have joined. Some are yet to join. We are yet to complete interviews for certain departments which will bring in more candidates."

The student group also accused, based on their RTI findings, IIT Madras of violating reservations in faculty recruitment and PhD admissions in 2023.

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Earlier this year, APPSC claimed, based on RTI responses, that IIT Delhi and IIT Kanpur too were violating the reservation policy in PhD admission and faculty recruitment, respectively.  In fact, over a month ago, the student group, based on RTI data, had accused IIT Kharagpur of "violating reservation norms in faculty recruitment and PhD admissions, even in 2023, despite govt and judiciary orders." It had said:

Over 13,500 SC, ST and OBC students have dropped out of courses that they were taking at central universities, IITs and IIMs (Indian Institute of Management) in the last five years, according to a response in the Lok Sabha on 4 December 2023.  

“Denying of seats is nothing but caste discrimination...IITs need to come clean on discrimination being permeated at all levels of hiring,” said Dheeraj Singh, an alumnus of IIT Kanpur and IIM Calcutta, who works for diversity in higher education.  

Let’s take a look at what the data from the RTI response indicates about SC/ST/OBC representation across IITs: 

'No ST, OBC Faculty Recruited at IIT Bombay in 2023'

IIT Bombay recruited a total of 21 faculty members in 2023, of which, 17 (or 80 percent) belong to the General category, and 4 (or 19 percent) belong to the SC category. Meanwhile, no faculty members belonging to the ST or OBC community were recruited in 2023, showed the RTI response, a copy of which was accessed by The Quint.

The student group also alleged that faculty members belonging to the marginalised social groups form a mere six percent of the total faculty currently working at IIT Bombay.

Based on their RTI findings, APPSC also claimed that during the 2023-24 PhD admission, 16 departments at IIT Bombay did not admit a single ST student, seven departments did not admit a single SC student while two departments did not admit a single OBC student.

In a post on X on 9 April, APPSC wrote:

"The lack of diversity in faculty has resulted in denial of seats to SC ST OBC students. Despite having a sufficient number of applicants from every category, IIT Bombay keeps violating reservation norms in PhD admissions."

The next day, IIT Bombay responded, saying, "Misleading figures are circulating about no. of faculty recruited from various reserved categories at IIT Bombay."

APPSC also alleged that the elite institute had denied 85 seats to PhD candidates belonging to SC/ST/OBC communities, and that five departments at IIT Bombay had not admitted a single student belonging to the ST community in the past nine years.

The Quint reached out to IIT Bombay for their response on allegations of violating the reservation policy and will update the story once they respond.  

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'6 on 10 Depts at IIT Madras Don't Have Any ST Student'

In another post on X on 9 April, APPSC accused IIT Madras of violating reservation norms during faculty recruitment and PhD admission in 2023.

According to the RTI response, a copy of which was accessed by The Quint, IIT Madras hired 52 faculty members in 2023, of which, 43 (or 82 percent) belong to the General Category.

The student group also alleged that six on ten departments at the elite institute did not take in single student belonging to the ST community, during the PhD admissions for the academic year 2023-24.

APPSC also claimed that during PhD admissions in 2023, the elite institute admitted "only 2 percent students admitted from ST category" and "only 10% students admitted from SC category."

The Quint reached out to IIT Madras for their response on allegations of violating the reservation policy and will update the story once they respond.  

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‘No SC/ST/OBC Faculty Recruited in 23 Departments at IIT Kharagpur’

As of January 2024, IIT Kharagpur has 742 faculty members, of which 683 or 92 percent belong to the General category. Meanwhile, 40 (or 5.4 percent) belong to the OBC category; 17 (or 2.3 percent) to the SC category and a meagre two (or 0.27 percent) belong to ST community, the RTI response, a copy of which was accessed by The Quint, showed.  

The 683 in the general category includes two belonging to the Economically Weaker Sections category that is open only to those from non-reserved castes.

Let’s take a look at what the data from the RTI response indicates about SC/ST/OBC representation across IITs.

The student body said that this “blatantly violates constitutional provisions”, which apportion 15 percent seats for the SC community, 7.5 percent to ST community and 27 percent to OBC community in course admission and faculty recruitment. 

In addition, it showed that of the total 45 departments at IIT Kharagpur, 43 do not have a single ST faculty member; 32 departments do not have an SC faculty and 23 departments do not have any faculty belonging to the OBC community.  

In fact, there is no female ST faculty at IIT Kharagpur as of January this year, as per the RTI response.  

Faculty recruitment in 2023 paints a sorry picture, with the elite institute hiring no faculty members from the ST community.

Let’s take a look at what the data from the RTI response indicates about SC/ST/OBC representation across IITs.

Source: RTI Response

(Image: The Quint/@Vibhushita Singh)

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According to the RTI response, of the total 101 faculty members hired by IIT Kharagpur last year, only two belong to SC community while 10 belong to OBCs.  

Similarly, in case of PhD admissions in 2023-24, of the 345 students IIT Kharagpur took in, 182 belonged to the General category. Meanwhile, 46 students (or 13.3 percent) belonged to the SC category, 9 students (or 2.60 percent) to the ST category and 82 students (or 23.7 percent) to the OBC category.  

Let’s take a look at what the data from the RTI response indicates about SC/ST/OBC representation across IITs.

By doing so, IIT Kharagpur had denied 34 seats to PhD candidates belonging to marginalised communities, APPSC alleged. A member of the student body told The Quint that since IITs did not disclose the number of vacant seats for each category, they had calculated it based on the total intake.  

“This is data from one IIT for one year. If you calculate it for 22 IITs for the last five years, the number of seats denied to SC, ST and OBC students will run into hundreds. Why are IITs not being held accountable for violating the reservation policy? What is preventing the courts from intervening?” an APPSC member lamented.   

The Quint reached out to IIT Kharagpur for their response on allegations of violating the reservation policy. In their response, sent to The Quint on 8 April, IIT Kharagpur said, "The institute follows flexible cadre structure for reservation in recruitment of various faculty positions as per guidelines stipulated by the Ministry of Education, Govt of India from time to time." 

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‘IIT Delhi Denied 132 Seats in 2023-24’ 

According to the RTI response, a copy of which was accessed by The Quint, of the total 32 departments at IIT Delhi, 25 did not have an ST student, 10 did not have an SCp student and six departments did not have an OBC student. 

Let’s take a look at what the data from the RTI response indicates about SC/ST/OBC representation across IITs.

Of the total 676 PhD candidates selected in the academic year 2023-24, (473 or nearly 70 percent) belonged to the general category. Meanwhile, 57 (8.43 percent) students belonged to the SC community, 11 (or 1.62 percent) to the ST community and 135 (or 19.9 percent) to the OBC community, the RTI response indicated.  

By doing so, IIT Delhi “denied a total of 132 seats” – 44 to SC students, 40 to ST students and 48 to OBC students – and violated the reservation policy, APPSC alleged in a post on X.  

The number of women students among ST communities, paints a sorrier picture with only two women getting admission for PhD courses in IIT Delhi in 2023-24. 

“More diversity democratises the campus. Those belonging to marginalised communities can find someone to reach out to. But at IITs, we are so heavily under-represented. If you’re an ST student at IIT Kharagpur or IIT Delhi, who do you reach out to? The system is designed to alienate you,” the APPSC member said, demanding IITs to take responsibility for the alarming number of student suicides.  

Four students – Aayush Ashna, 20; Anil Kumar, 21; Panav Jain, 21 and Varad Nerkar, 23 —have lost their lives at the premier educational institute in the last eight months. Of them, two belonged to the Dalit community, while one belonged to the OBC community. 

The Quint reached out to IIT Delhi for their response on allegations of violating the reservation policy and will update the story once they respond.  

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‘No ST Faculty in 14 Departments at IIT Kanpur’ 

“IIT Kanpur has violated reservation in faculty recruitment despite our consistent campaign and the govt ordering MMR (Mission Mode Recruitment),” APPSC claimed on the basis of another RTI response received on 29 January 2024. 

According to the RTI response, a copy of which was accessed by The Quint, of the total 567 faculty members at IIT Kanpur as of January this year, 493 (nearly 87 percent) belong to the General category. Meanwhile, 24 (or 4 percent) faculty members are from SC community, 6 (or 1 percent) from ST community and 44 (or 7.7 percent) from the OBC community.  

Let’s take a look at what the data from the RTI response indicates about SC/ST/OBC representation across IITs.

Since 1 January 2023, only two ST, two SC and five OBC faculty members have joined IIT Kanpur against 34 from the General Category.

Let’s take a look at what the data from the RTI response indicates about SC/ST/OBC representation across IITs.

The data also shows that eight of the 19 branches at IIT Kanpur do not have any faculty member from the SC category, 14 don’t have an ST faculty, while three branches do not have any faculty member from the OBC category.  

“MMR was essentially launched by the government to bridge the diversity deficit in PhD intake and faculty recruitment. But localised decisioning is such that biases are permeated at all levels of hiring,” Singh told The Quint.  

The Quint reached out to IIT Kanpur for their response on allegations of violating the reservation policy and will update the story once they respond.  

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‘IIT Bombay Denied 80 Seats to SC, ST, OBC Students’

Of the 394 students that IIT Bombay took in 2023-24, 263 (or 66 percent) were from the General category. Meanwhile, 36 (or 9 percent) students belonging to SC community, 12 (or 3 percent) students belonging to ST community and 83 (20 percent) belonging to OBCs got admission at the elite institute.  

Let’s take a look at what the data from the RTI response indicates about SC/ST/OBC representation across IITs.

20 departments did not admit a single ST student in 2023, 11 did not admit any SC students and five did not admit any OBC students in the 2023-24 academic year at the PhD level.  

Although IIT Bombay had, by its own admission, earmarked 168 seats for those belonging to the General category, RTI data shared by APPSC in September last year indicated that 263 seats – 95 seats over the prescribed limit – were given to General candidates.  

At the time, IIT Bombay had said that it admits students under many categories for PhD and that vacant seats will be filled in the 2024 Spring admission session.  

On 9 September 2023, it said: “The Institute strives to maintain diversity in all aspects. We reiterate that all reservation norms are followed during admissions to all programmes and the reservation policy is followed in letter and in spirit.” 

While the APPSC member that The Quint spoke to asserted that action must be taken against IITs for violating reservation policy, Singh was of the view that the hiring process needs to be decentralised to ensure reservation norms are met. 

Singh explained, “A target year to achieve full parity for marginalised communities in faculty positions at IITs as well as IIMs should be announced. A centralised admissions and hiring agency to implement, monitor and achieve planned annual targets to accelerate diversity in PhD admissions and faculty recruitment would reduce bottlenecks due to biases at the institute level.” 

Calling the SC/ST Cell at most IITs “dysfunctional,” Singh recommended a centralised grievance redressal agency to help resolve complaints of any caste-based discrimination in admissions, recruitment, promotions, etc. in the higher education institutes. 

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Note: The story has been updated to include recent RTI findings about IIT Bombay and IIT Madras. In addition, the response of IIT Kharagpur has been updated in the story.

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