September 29, 2019

Exclusion in IIM Ahmedabad

vikram Singh

THE recent notification of Indian Institute of Management-Ahmadabad(IIM-A) for the PhD programme in management, 2020 is the typical case where there is no provision to implement reservations for historically marginalised social groups. In the official notification, it had no provisions for an SC/ST (Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribe) quota. This is in violation of the reservation mandated by the Constitution of India that makes it obligatory for all central educational institutions to reserve seats for each course and branch of study. It was further emphasised in The Indian Institute of Management Act, 2017, which gave unprecedented autonomy to the IIMs and enabled them to grant the PhD degree in the first place. This act also makes it clear that they must comply with the provisions of the Central Educational Institutions (Reservation in Admission) Act, 2006. 

The administration argues that since numbers of the vacancies are not fixed for PhD and they consider it as the super-specialty course where reservation should not be implemented. This is nothing but an effort to avoid the students from deprived background whereas in other IIMs reservation is implemented for PhD courses. Similar exclusive mindset is operating in the recruitment of the faculty in IIMS. A study released in September 2017 by Joshi and Malghan, who are in continuous struggle against the policy of exclusion of IIM-A, reveals that out of the 512 IIM faculty members where data was available, only two belong to the SC group, and IIMs currently do not have anybody from the ST group on their faculty.

In fact, this is the not the case of only IIMs but the situation of most of the central universities is similar where many reserved posts are lying vacant. Overall the percentage of faculty from deprived sections is very less in higher education. The percentage of faculty from SC is only 8.6 per cent and ST is only 2.3 per cent of the total, which is far less to their percentage to the population. 

The BJP government is trying to move one step further and efforts are there change the policy of the reservation. On various occasions, BJP and RSS leaders have asked to review the reservation policy. Recently RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat has asked to initiate discussion on the reservation. They are not only speaking against reservation from the public platforms but in recent times concrete efforts were there to further dilute this reservation policy. One such effort to dilute the reservation in the recruitment of faculty in higher education was through a notification of UGC to change the unit of 200 point system of reservation for faculty recruitment and making the department as the unit of reservation which directly reduced the opportunities for the aspirants from reserved category. In fact, there was little recruitment with this policy where not a single candidate was recruited from SC and ST background. The central government pushed for this reservation policy, but the same government was forced to file a review petition in the Supreme Court under pressure of teachers’ movement. The submission of the HRD ministry in court tells about the possible adverse effects of this policy. Submission conveyed the court that the total SC/ST/OBC representation was expected to come down by more than half, from 2,663 seats to 1,241 in a year if the new faculty quota system is implemented.  

A similar effort was there through a UGC Gazette Notification, 2016 for PhD admission that seriously affected research. It was clearly an effort to exclude students from deprived sections from research as it framed rules like 100 per cent viva voice and a qualifying criterion of 50 per cent in written for students for PhD.

Presently more than 78 per cent of the colleges are owned by the private sector and the number of universities has also increased rapidly from 153 to 262 (the year 2013 to 2017) As far as the private sector, it is largely owned by the upper caste entrepreneurs. Caste and gender disparities are there in all enterprises of the private sector. Dalits and tribals find it very difficult to get recruitment in the private sector particularly in the higher posts, as these private institutions owned by the upper class are full of discrimination. 

The dual character of the central Government is further exposed when it comes to the reservation of economic backward sections. MHRD forced all education institutions including IIMs to implement them before elections, but when it comes to SC, ST, OBC reservations there are no serious efforts by the same ministry. Suddenly the autonomy becomes an obstacle for the intervention of MHRD. There is always an element of resistance from the administration to implement the reservation policy and the governments have also not pushed this agenda sincerely. Historically the BJPs ideology has always opposed reservations. Presently there is a lethal combination of neoliberal policies and agenda of Hindutva that is guiding the policies of the central government.

Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad (IIM-A) is the model of new India under the BJP regime where deprived sections have no place. This cannot be the India of our dreams, which is for a few elite but deprives the poor masses. We cannot afford to go back on the path of building India of just society therefore, the policies of exclusion should be resisted and government should be forced to follow policies of inclusiveness.