CHENNAI: The Narendra Modi-led government has been taking pains to implement 10 per cent reservation for students from Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) of the forward castes in Central government-run institutions like the IITs in this academic year itself. But the data provided by the Indian Institute of Technology-Madras shows that students from the forward castes are already represented by as much as 50 per cent in the institute. Also, the students whose annual parental income is lesser than Rs 10 lakh constitute about 50 per cent. The data raises questions when the students from the forward castes and from families with lesser than Rs 10 lakh annual income are already well represented, whether the new 10 per cent reservation is needed.
The RTI replies from IIT-Madras were obtained by E Muralidharan, a former member of the Board of Academic Research of the institute. The information shows that almost all the seats in the open category, which constitutes 50 per cent, were taken by students from the forward castes. For example, in 2018, out of the total 498 seats in BTech courses, 255 were taken by forward castes students. Of 256 seats in the open category, just one Backward Classes student was admitted.
No student from the SC and ST category were admitted in the open category. In the dual degree courses, all the 176 open category seats were taken by forward caste students. In MTech, out of the 292 open category seats, 16 were taken by students from Backward Classes and one from Scheduled Castes. The remaining 275 seats were taken by forward castes students. Put together all the courses offered by IIT Madras, including PhDs, out of the total 1,240 seats in open category, 1,215 were taken by students from forward castes. The scene is similar for 2017 too.
Similarly, the economic details of the students provided by IIT-Madras shows that out of the total 854 students admitted in BTech and dual degree courses, 568 seats were taken by students whose parents’ annual income is lesser than Rs 10 lakh. As many as 229 students, which is about 26 per cent, have annual income of parents lesser than Rs 5 lakh (In the new 10 per cent quota, Rs 8 lakh annual income is the cut off for EWS).
Muralidharan also pointed out the Supreme Court’s order that the reservations are a tool only to enable representation of not already represented sections. He says that he had filed an RTI petition with the Union HRD ministry seeking admissions data from all the IITs, but the ministry had declined. However, the caste-wise distribution of students in all IITs must be similar to that of the IIT Madras since admissions were conduced through common counselling.