Open category faculty
Pratap Bhanu Mehtas’ latest article in the Indian Express confirms our fears about the push for caste quotas in IIT,IISc,IIM,AIIMS.
The Central government has just engaged in the largest populist buyout of higher education since Independence. To facilitate rapid expansion of the system, necessitated by increased reservations, the government has raised the retirement age of university teachers to 65, with reappointment up to 70. There is an argument to be made that our retirement ages are too low. But this increase could at least have been linked to performance. Or it could have been used to leverage other radical reforms that universities badly need. But get this. The increase in retirement age has also been accompanied by a directive to first fulfil all outstanding quotas in teacher recruitment. What will be the consequence of this directive superimposed upon increase in retirement age? The effects will vary a bit, but its net result will be that there will be almost no new recruitment in the general category for at least five, possibly more, years.
[emp added] Source : The Indian Express
So, if any of you “open category” academics are nurturing ambitions of working in IITs, IISc, IIMs, or AIIMS – fine tune your plans accordingly.
Unlike SC/ST reservation which despite all its faults, is about social justice – the OBC quotas has become a tussle for caste supremacy. The TN parties have always resented IIT Madras for sticking out like a sore thumb, where merit trumped caste and politics. It was always seen as a safety valve where some brahmins were seen to be hiding and where OBCs had limited say as a caste group. Read this , this , and this.
Like other issues, this comes down to data. Castes in the OBC list must be examined in detail to ascertain the existance of social and educational backwardness first. If some castes can make such a strong play for professorships and deans at IISc and IIT, can they still be educationally backward ? Without this basic prerequisite, the whole policy is nothing but a tussle between
- upper castes who do not have the political capital to classify themselves as backward
- upper castes who have the required political capital and do not mind calling themselves backward in exchange for concrete benefits
After reading the Indira Sawhney judgement in full, I get a sinking feeling about data. Can we just expect “prudent and reasonable” classification of OBCs from the state governments. One check can be that a caste must have graduate levels 20-25% below the state average. There must be some binding legal bar in the form of statistics.