Mumbai, Oct 6: Censorship. That is what directors of the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) are currently fighting, after the Union human resource development ministry edited out their opinion against faculty reservation.
Access to the minutes of the 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 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 meeting on July 4, chaired by C N R Rao, principal scientific adviser to the PM, was called to discuss the issue of introducing SC, ST and OBC reservation in recruiting faculty members. However, despite the directors' opposition, the minutes did not incorporate their view.
The HRD ministry had sent a diktat to all IITs on June 9, asking them to set aside 15%, 7.5% and 27% quotas in teaching positions for the SC, ST and OBC categories. IITs currently have reservations for the backward category for administrative posts — from attendants to the level of deputy registrar. However, there is no reservation for faculty members.
The SCIC meeting was chaired by C N R Rao, principal scientific adviser to the Prime Minister, and attended by 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.
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, only stated that the directors did not want a distinction made between faculty of science and technology and that of social sciences and humanities while omitting the fundamental opposition to reservation in faculty. "This (the minutes) 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 had demanded 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.