The Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) have collectively approached the government seeking exemption from reserving faculty positions for Scheduled Caste (SC), Scheduled Tribe (ST), Other Backward Classes (OBC) and Economically Weaker Sections (EWS).
Last week, the 20 IIMs requested the HRD Ministry to add them to the list of “Institutions of Excellence” mentioned in the Schedule to the Central Educational Institutions (Reservation in Teachers’ Cadre) Act 2019. Section 4 of the Act exempts “institutions of excellence, research institutions, institutions of national and strategic importance” mentioned in the Schedule and minority institutions from providing reservation.
Currently, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, National Brain Research Centre, North-Eastern Indira Gandhi Regional Institute of Health and Medical Science, Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research, Physical Research Laboratory, Space Physics Laboratory, Indian Institute of Remote Sensing and Homi Bhabha National Institute and all its 10 constituent units are covered under the Section 4 of the law.
“Since there is precedence (of exemption), the IIMs have also requested for it,” said a source.
“The institutes have argued that their recruitment process is fair and that they are trying to employ candidates from disadvantaged sections through the same process. But reservation may not be the way to go since they are competing globally.” As per data maintained by the HRD Ministry, over 90% of the current faculty strength across 20 IIMs is from the General category.
Read | Why most drop-outs from IITs, IIMs are from reserved category?
The request comes in the wake of a government directive last month that ordered them to provide quota in faculty positions for SC, ST, OBC and EWS candidates. Reservations in IIM appointments has been a contentious issue for years. Currently, the 20 premier Business Schools do not offer 15 per cent of the teaching posts for SCs, 7.5 per cent for STs, 27 per cent for OBCs and 10 per cent for the EWS.
The IITs, on the other hand, have been implementing reservation at the entry level (assistant professor) in technology subjects and at all three levels in management and humanities courses since 2008.
The IIMs, in the past, used to cite a letter of the Department of Personnel and Training from the 1970s that states that scientific and technical posts are exempt from the reservation. IIMs claimed their teaching posts are technical and hence exempt.
However, the latest order issued in November states that it “supersedes” all previous orders/notifications/communication” sent by the HRD Ministry in case of faculty reservation. It also states that the IIMs will now have to prepare reservation rosters and all future recruitment of teachers will have to done as per the roster.