IITs and Reservation | V. Ramgopal Rao Committee | UPSC

IITs and Reservation | V. Ramgopal Rao Committee


IITs and reservation

      WHY IN NEWS:

What has the committee set up by the Education Ministry to look at implementing reservation suggested?

MINISTRY? :- Ministry of Education


For PRELIMS it is important to understand the reservation structure in IIT’s and IIM’s.

For MAINS go through the committee recommendations carefully and note down the key points of this issue . Let us dive in !


The report of the Committee, which was obtained under the Right to Information Act by an interested citizen, is “under examination



  • The Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) have a large number of faculty vacancies, as the student intake capacity was raised by over 50% during 2008-10.
  • This was after reservation for Other Backward Classes students was introduced, and more IITs were opened during 2008-17.

Currently, there are 23 IITs, and reservation for Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) has been added.

  • Since the ratio of students to teachers has come under strain.
  • The high bar for entry of teachers, starting with a doctoral degree, has shrunk the pool of eligible aspirants from reserved categories.
  • The Education Ministry formed a committee to look at implementing the reservation system effectively.


  • Student admissions and teachers’ appointments are covered by the Central Educational Institutions (Reservation in Admission) Act, 2006, and the Central Educational Institutions (Reservation in Teachers’ Cadre) Act, 2019.
  • Beneficiaries belong to the Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, OBCs and EWS.

The Ministry Committee headed by the Director of IIT Delhi, V. Ramgopal Rao, met twice in the current year, and came up with two options. 

  1. The government could in effect sidestep the faculty reservation question by including IITs in the schedule to the 2019 law, providing them exemption as in the case of some national institutions of importance.
  2. The second option provides for de-reservation of positions if no suitable candidates are found in the year of recruitment.

The recommendations have evoked a strong reaction, as they are seen as negating the objective of affirmative action through reservation.


  • The IITs, set up as institutions of national importance under a special law to contribute to national and even global development, had to pursue high quality teaching and research.

Aspirants must therefore possess a PhD degree, as well as a superior academic record and “high research accomplishments” for teaching.

  • The IITs also come within the ambit of a special dispensation backed by the Human Resource Development Ministry (now the Education Ministry) in 2009, which enables a flexible cadre structure.
  • This allows the institutes to maintain an overall faculty strength, but makes it possible to upgrade those with high credentials to higher tier positionswithout constraints of post limits.
  • Yet, with more students enrolling, the opening of new IITs, and introduction of the EWS quota, the selection committees have been unable to find enough candidates to fill teaching positions.


  • About a decade ago, the student to faculty ratio was estimated at about 6:1, which facilitated closer monitoring and pursuit of projects that make IIT courses unique.
  • This faculty ratio later fell to 12:1, and appears to be under further strain.

The Education Ministry’s Committee has pointed out that the optimal is a ratio of 10:1, on the basis of which faculty numbers have been set. 

  • The reality is that not enough candidates belonging to the reserved categories are going into research in engineering and technology.
  • Even among those who do, only a small group opt for a teaching career.
  • This has sharply reduced the available pool from which the IITs can recruit teachers while adhering to reservation norms.


The Committee came up with two options:

1.To include the IITs in the schedule to the 2019 law on teachers’ recruitment, which would exempt these institutes from reservation, just as it does in other institutions of excellence.

2.The panel suggested that faculty at the level of Assistant Professor Grade I and II be given reservation, including for EWS, and the vacancies considered for the institution as a whole, and not for each department.


  • If suitable candidates from the reserved category are unavailable, the posts should be de-reserved in the next year.
  • The seats can be reallocated with approval from the Board of Governors.

To provide for a talent pool from among the reserved sections, the Ramgopal Rao panel has suggested the launch of two-year research assistantships fully funded by the Centre.

  • The internship should contain an option for the candidates to take up PhD studies that meet the rigorous standards of the IITs.

      IASbhai WINDUP: 


  • Although it aims at addressing a critical gap, the recommendation to do away with reservation is at odds with the stated position of the Central government.
  • The Ministry now has a recommendation favouring no reservation, and a reiteration of the idea of treating an IIT as a single unit for the purpose of drawing up a roster of reserved posts, rather than go by individual departments.
     SOURCES:  THE HINDU | IITs and Reservation | V. Ramgopal Rao Committee



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