Politics

HRD Ministry Pulled Up for Not Fulfilling OBC Quota in Central Universities

New Delhi: A parliamentary committee, headed by a BJP MP, has expressed anguish at the Ministry of Human Resource Development not being able to implement the 27% reservation in central educational institutions (CEIs) despite guidelines being issued by the government.

The panel also observed that reserved category students of the University of Allahabad were being treated unjustly at the interview stage of admission to the D.Phil course.

The panel, chaired by Rajen Gohain, has in its fourth report on “measures undertaken to secure representation of OBCs and for their welfare in universities and other higher educational/technical institutions” pulled up the Smriti Irani-led ministry for failing on various counts.

The committee said it was informed about serious complaints regarding violation of reservation rules, discrimination against OBC and SC students, especially in admissions in the ancient history department and also regarding the non-disposal of the complaints of OBC students at Allahabad university.

“The Ministry of Human Resource Development, on being asked by the Committee, set up an Enquiry Committee to look into the complaints regarding violation of rules in the University of Allahabad. As per the findings of the Enquiry Committee, the reserved category students were being treated unjustly at the interview stage of admission to D.Phil course,” the panel said.

It suggested that the D.Phil admission process be modified to avoid a repeat of such incidents. It also deprecated the flouting of the reservation rules and discrimination meted out to OBC students and recommended that responsibility should be fixed and stringent action be taken against those responsible.

The committee also said that while Article 46 of the Constitution expressly provides that the state shall promote with special care the educational and economic interests of the weaker sections of the people, it was revealed that even the additional grant given by the HRD ministry to the CEIs to upgrade the infrastructure for facilitating the implementation of OBC reservation had not been fully utilised. It also observed that there is no effective mechanism in the ministry and the University Grants Commission to monitor the utilisation of the funds allocated to facilitate reservation of OBCs.

On the issue of the implementation of the Central Educational Institutions (Reservation in Admission) Act, 2006 that sought to  provide reservation to OBC students for admissions in the CEIs, the panel said it was “substantially delayed due to litigations and other factors’’.

The panel observed that the representation of OBC students in the CEIs, including central universities and technical institutions such as the IITs and NITs, remained “far from satisfactory”.

To illustrate the low level of OBC representation at central universities, the panel provided data on the reservation for these during the 2014-15 academic session:

Central University of Jammu — 16.30%

Central University of Kashmir — 4.40%

Central University of Punjab — 20.13%

Central University of Tamil Nadu — 19.19%,

HNB Gharwal University — 5.24%

University of Delhi — 22.70%

Rajiv Gandhi University — 7.00%

Vishwa Bharati — 22.45%

The situation, it said, was “equally distressing” in IITs and other science and research institutes. The percentage of OBC representation at some of these institutes are:

IIT Delhi — 21.52%

IIT Kanpur — 18.90%

IIT Kharagpur — 25.49%

IIT Mumbai — 24.70%

NIT Kurukshetra — 24.26%

NIT Srinagar — 17%

IISER Kolkata — 14.87%

IISER Pune — 23.69%

The panel said it felt “the approach of the Universities and other technical institutions has been rather lax in providing due representation to OBC students.”

On the issue of reservation of OBCs in the university faculty, the committee expressed deep concern at the “gross violation of the Government of India orders’’. It said according to the information furnished to it, as on March 31, 2015, there were 50 backlog OBC vacancies at Vishwa Bharti, 45 at the Harisingh Gaur University, 44 at Guru Ghasidas University, 34 at Pondicherry University, 33 at Tezpur University, and 32 each at Assam University, the University of Delhi and the University of Allahabad. “The situation is disturbing in other Universities also and still worse in a number of technical institutions,” the committee held.

The panel also observed that there was no reservation for the posts of associate professors and professors in science and technology subjects at the technical institutions. It said it was “unable to find any reason for such discrimination in reservation in respect of science and technology subjects and non science and technology subjects” and urged the Centre to bring uniformity in the matter.

On the issue of utilisation of funds, upgradation of infrastructure and monitoring, the panel noted that additional funds amounting to 2,166.89 crore rupees were allocated to central universities and 4,227.46 crore rupees to the centrally funded technical institutions to expand capacity by 54% to provide OBC reservations without reducing the general category seats.

The HRD ministry, it said, was unable to provide detailed information regarding the utilisation. It also noted that the funds could be utilised fully in most central universities, including at the universities of Delhi and Allahabad.

The panel also said it was “sad to note” that several universities like Central University of Kerala, Bihar, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu, Jharkhand and Karnataka had not been allocated additional funds to create the necessary infrastructure.

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