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IIT placements to begin today; hiring plans of PSUs uncertain

As first phase of placements at Indian Institutes of Technology start on Dec 1, there’s no clarity on whether PSUs can hire from campus

mumbai Updated: Dec 01, 2017 12:08 IST
Shreya Bhandary
Shreya Bhandary
Hindustan Times
The department of legal affairs has reaffirmed that campus recruitment by PSUs, in view of the Madras high court decision may be questioned as an unconstitutional way of recruitment to public employment. (HT File)

A year after making a grand re-entry to campuses during placement season, the fate of public sector undertakings’ (PSUs) hiring plans is uncertain once again. With the first phase of placements at the premier Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) starting from December 1, the number of PSUs registering at campuses across India has dipped.

“There is still no clarity on whether PSUs can hire students through campus placements, so we have not got a single PSU on board yet,” said an official from IIT-Madras.

While PSUs have hired freshers out of IITs and IIMs for a long time, a temporary stay on this process was put in place by the Madras high court, following a petition filed in 2014. This petition sought a ban on public sector companies opting for campus placements at private institutes, thus eating into chances of students from government institutes vying for the same jobs. The ban was lifted in December 2015, giving private institutes a free hand to approach more companies.

However, earlier this year, the department of legal affairs reaffirmed that “campus recruitment by PSUs, in view of the Madras high court’s September 7, 2015, decision may be questioned as an unconstitutional way of recruitment to public employment” and may amount to “discrimination”.

With no official statement on this decision, IITs are finding it difficult to get PSUs to commit. “We have approached many PSUs, but only two have confirmed their arrival,” said a student from IIT Delhi.

Six PSUs had registered for the first phase of placements at IIT-Bombay last year, of which three showed up. “We have approached many PSUs, but confirmation is yet to come through. None of the PSUs have mentioned having any problems,” said an official from IIT-B’s placement department.

Students across IITs said they were upset, especially as PSUs have offered good jobs and salary packages in the past. “Jobs at PSUs come with a lot of security. But, with so much confusion now, we are worried about what the outcome will be if we get hired by a PSU. The Centre should make a statement so problems don’t crop up after we are hired,” said a final-year IIT-B student.

Last year, PSUs offered 15 jobs at IIT-B, including those related to core engineering and research and development roles. The average salaries offered was Rs10 lakh, said IIT-B officials.

Why the demand for ban on PSUs offering jobs by campus placements?

A petition filed by a Kerala-based advocate contended that PSUs should not disregard job notifications and reservation policy rules governing them; that no recruitment could be done without first offering equal opportunity to all eligible candidates. The petitioner stated that holding campus recruitments in private institutions was against public employment policy and sought the cancellation of all such recruitments that had already been made and against Article 16(1) of the Constitution of India. Article 16(1) states there shall be equality of opportunity for all citizens in matters relating to employment or appointment to any office under the State.

The petition further stated that recruitment in PSUs should be done only through employment exchanges or through public advertisements inviting applications from eligible candidates from across the country. By recruiting candidates directly from college campuses, PSUs will not only be violating rules but also unwittingly contributing to the demand for private educational institutions which organize such placement drives. Equal opportunity in matters of public employment should not be denied to candidates entitled to participate in the selection process. This process cannot be confined only to educational institutions organizing campus placements, the petitioner said.

First Published: Dec 01, 2017 12:07 IST