New Delhi: Delhi University (DU) has only 4.63 per cent teachers belonging to the Other Backward Classes (OBC), as against the legal mandate of 27 per cent, a parliamentary committee has found. The panel also flagged how one of the largest universities in the country has failed on the national commitment for social justice.
The 27 per cent reservation for OBCs in central government jobs was introduced in 1993.
The committee has noted that there is no associate professor and professor from Other Backward Classes among these 4.63 per cent teachers.
Out of the total 1,706 sanctioned posts, DU has just 79 OBC teachers, the Parliamentary Committee on the Welfare of OBCs has said in its draft report on “Measures undertaken to secure representation of OBCs in admissions in Ph.D and appointment of teachers in Delhi University”, ThePrint has learnt.
Sources said the draft report was adopted by the committee, headed by BJP MP Ganesh Singh, last Tuesday and will be tabled in the next session of Parliament.
According to the sources, the committee, in its draft report, has expressed unhappiness over the fact that the university has “done little to ensure due representation of OBCs among its faculties”, and how the “gulf between present representation and the legally-mandated one is wide and will require extraordinary efforts and commitment to fill”.
DU has 16 faculties and over 80 academic departments with an equal number of colleges. Over 7 lakh students study in the varsity.
No OBC associate professor or professor in DU
The panel has observed that representation of OBC teachers in different grades is “even more worrisome”.
The committee has noted that of the 174 sanctioned posts for associate professors and 67 others for professors, DU has not made a single appointment.
“…if there is no representation of OBCs in associate professor /professor category in a premier and trendsetting university like DU, the situation in other universities and academic institutes throughout the country may well be surmised,” the committee has observed.
An MP, who is a member of the parliamentary panel, said DU has informed the committee that many of its OBC posts were recast after the switchover of reservation roster in 2013, after which the university, and not its departments, was treated as a unit.
In its draft report, the committee has said that “in any such exercise it is logical that some unreserved positions will become reserved but at the same time they cannot take it as a valid justification for not filling any OBC posts prior to 2013 or since then for the above posts of associate professor/professor”.
The committee has recommended that DU should now fill up all its sanctioned posts for OBCs in the grades of assistant professor, associate professor and professor in a “stipulated time frame”.
It also wants the filling of vacant OBC posts to be monitored at the highest level of the University Grants Commission and the Ministry of Human Resource Development.
ThePrint tried to reach Delhi University Vice-Chancellor Yogesh Tyagi via phone calls and text messages for a comment but failed to receive any response till the publication of this report.
‘Glaring gaps’ in advertised OBC posts and vacancies
The committee has also observed “glaring gaps” in the number of OBC posts for professors, associate professors and assistant professors that DU has advertised against the number of their vacancies.
For instance, the committee noted, DU had advertised for only 45 posts of professors in the OBC category while there were 67 vacancies last year.
Of the 174 existing vacancies for the post of associate professor, only 116 OBC vacancies have been advertised, it noted.
The committee also noted this was despite the varsity informing it that “as per the new plotting on the roster register various posts have been recast leading to creation of more number of reserved seats”.
The committee has now recommended that number of vacancies in various faculty positions should be “immediately reworked as per the roster register and amendments to its advertisements should be issued by the DU accordingly”.
Speaking to ThePrint, political theorist Professor Kancha Illaiah said unlike in universities in the South, most of the faculty posts in DU and Jawaharlal Nehru University are controlled by those belonging to the Baniya, Kayastha and Khatri communities. He cited this as one of the main reasons why a large number of OBC posts for teachers are lying vacant in the two universities.
“They (faculty posts) have been occupied by people from these communities, irrespective of their ideological backgrounds. They (the communities) have been traditionally opposed to OBC reservation and whenever they have to recruit they either look at candidates with a foreign degree or those from DU, Jadavpur University, JNU. They don’t recruit suitable candidates with PhD and NET from smaller regional universities. This has resulted in a large number of OBC posts lying vacant,” Illaiah said.
Silver lining — OBCs in PhD programmes have increased
There has, however, been an increase in OBC representation in various PhD programmes in DU, where candidates belonging to non-creamy layer get the benefit of 27 per cent reservation in seats in central universities.
The committee was informed by DU that the representation of OBCs in admission to PhD programmes for 2019 was 26.6 per cent while it was 27.6 per cent in 2018.
This, the committee noted, is a marked increase over the years. In 2015, the representation of OBCs to PhD programmes was 15 per cent, which increased to 18 per cent in 2016.
Though representation of OBCs in terms of percentage has gone up over the years in DU, the total number of seats offered for PhD programmes has decreased. In 2018, the total number of PhD seats was 802, which went down to 591 in 2019 in DU.
The committee noted that this does not “augur well for DU’s research programmes and profile”.
“While the committee understands that the overall PhD seats depend on the intake capacity of each department, which is subject to various factors, it should also be ensured that these seats are not allowed to plummet suddenly thus scuttling the fortunes of many potential research scholars,” the committee has concluded in its draft report.
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