The reservation in recruitment of teaching faculty at the Indian Institute of Management (IIM) is back on the government’s agenda. The human resource development minister Prakash Javadekar will likely take up the matter with the directors and chairman of the IIMs on September 20.
Sources told HT the ministry will discuss increasing the number of SC, ST and OBC faculty. The move comes when the ruling BJP is facing criticism for atrocities against Dalits in Gujarat and for its handling of suicide by Dalit scholar Rohith Vemula in Hyderabad.
“IIMs might find it difficult to dodge the issue as the minister will take it up in the meeting,” sources said. “All IIMs will submit report on their faculty position. A number of IIMs don’t follow the reservation policy.”
The meeting is the first time all stakeholders will meet face-to-face. Scholarship and loans given to needy students, SC/ST will also be discussed.
Reservation in faculty positions has been a contentious issue for IIMs. In 2008, then HRD minister Arjun Singh 2008 directed centrally funded institutions including IITs and IIMs to implement quota in teaching positions.
There were huge protests against the move possibly affecting faculty quality. Despite having strong reservations, IITs toed the line by reserving posts of assistant professors. However, a number of Sc, ST positions are vacant in IITs, sources said. IIMs have been defiant.
Faced with protests, Singh brought the ‘Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Reservation in Posts and Services) Bill, 2008, to exempt 47 higher educational institutions including IITs and IIMs, from the policy. The bill was passed in the Rajya Sabha in December 2008 but lapsed after the 14th Lok Sabha was dissolved in 2009.
In 2013, then higher education secretary Ashok Thakur instructed IIMs to follow the reservation system as a parliamentary panel had pointed out they were not doing it. In April this year the then HRD minister Smriti Irani asked IIMs to clarify if they are following the reservation policy.