New Delhi: Amidst outrage among scholars and alumni at the lack of diversity in the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs), a group of alumni have petitioned President Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, asking for reservations that are outlined in the constitution to be implemented in these institutes.
The petition cites data that has come out of recent research by IIM Bangalore fellow Siddharth Joshi and faculty member Deepak Malghan. Of the 512 IIM faculty members for whom data is available, only two belong to the SC group and 13 to the OBC group, and IIMs currently do not have anybody from the ST group on their faculty, their research has found. Joshi and Malghan traced this to the lack of diversity among the IIMs’ postgraduate students, since that is where future faculty members are often chosen from.
“The top four IIMs at Ahmedabad, Calcutta, Bangalore and Lucknow have only 24 SC/ST/OBC students out of total 388 students enrolled in FPM doctoral program,” a statement from the Global IIM Alumni Network says. The petition has been endorsed by several individuals and groups who graduated from the IIMs.
In their letter to the president and prime minister, the alumni have written that the diversity issue must be addressed before the institutions are given further autonomy through the IIM Bill as it stands at the moment. Stating the numbers that prove the lack of diversity and adding that the institutes have failed to take corrective measures despite internal and external pressure – including from the Ministry of Human Resource Development – over the last few months, the alumni’s letter to the president and prime minister says:
Due to these acute shortcomings, we believe that the IIMs are not ready for autonomy and rushing through the pending Bill in its current form by the honourable Parliament must be avoided. We have proposed several amendments that we believe should be incorporated in subsequent phases to overcome these blaring shortcomings and truly help in inclusive nation building.
The premier public teaching institutions such as the IIMs have constitutional and moral duties to set a precedence in implementing the constitutionally mandated reservation programmes for the people from the marginalized communities. This will help to create future industry and corporate leaders from these communities for the overall inclusive and sustainable nation building.
…We sincerely appeal to the Peoples’ representatives to make IIMs socially responsible and establish itself as an institute of national importance, not just by the statute, but by its key role in integrating the society and by fulfilling the aspirations of people, especially including the most marginalized. Until then, IIM autonomy will be detrimental its own cause of making a great place of learning and to the social fabric of India. IIMs must operate under Government of India, MHRD’s governance and nurture diversity and inclusion for India’s overall development and prosperity!
Also read: Despite Internal and External Pressure, IIM Ahmedabad Is Ignoring Its Social Diversity Problem
The group has also proposed amendments to the IIM Bill, which require the institutes to:
- Publish data on SC/ST/OBC applicants for FPM (Fellowship Programme in Management, equivalent to PhD) and faculty recruitment annually and effort made to fill the shortfall.
- Call for diversity in FPM programme by including candidates from SC/ST/OBC applicants – Encourage recent PGP alumni to apply for FPM programme and senior alumni for lateral recruitment at the faculty level.
- Develop special programmes to fill faculty positions from SC/ST/OBC applicants.
- Have special recruitment for SC/ST/OBC applicants at least once a year.
- Have a rolling advertisement on websites on selection of SC/ST/OBC candidates for FPM and faculty (IIMs are in dire need of faculty members).
- Include SC/ST/OBC persons of respective domain area in selection panel for FPM participant selection and faculty member recruitment.
- Video record selection process for SC/ST/OBC applicants for FPM and faculty positions. Faculty and FPM Interview panel should include 1-2 SC/ST/OBC representatives.
- Create SC/ST/OBC cell at various IIMs.