The National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC) organised its first public hearing regarding the representation of OBCs in teaching, non-teaching posts, expenditure on social justice and admissions in research in the University of Hyderabad. Activists say this is the first time that NCBC has held a public hearing in a central university.
Several complaints were raised by the All India OBC Students Association (AIOBCSA) before the NCBC and after that the commission held its first public hearing in the University of Hyderabad on Thursday.
A source in NCBC said, “There were complaints regarding the non-implementation of OBC reservation after which it was deemed necessary to hold a public hearing for the first time in the central university.”
Thalloju Achari, member of NCBC, and Ramesh Vishwanathula, legal advisor, were present. The administration of the University of Hyderabad and representatives of elected teachers, students and non-teaching bodies attended the meeting with the NCBC giving clear deadlines and reviews of the policies. News18.com contacted the registrar of University of Hyderabad, Sardar Singh, but there was no response to texts and calls.
Kiran Kumar, president of the All India OBC Students Association, said, “NCBC had conducted the public hearing for the first time in its history. After the issues were presented and heard, Thalloju informed that the commission will take necessary steps to protect the interest of the OBCs.”
On behalf of AIOBCSA, he informed the NCBC that University of Hyderabad is using the “not found suitable” criterion in depriving the OBCs of their right. He shared the representation made to the chairperson of NCBC, Bhagwan Lal Sahni, in which he detailed the violations.
A Right to Information (RTI) response by the UGC had revealed there are 2,498 professor, 5,011 associate professor, and 10,830 assistant professor posts sanctioned in 40 central universities across the country, as on 01-04-2020. In addition, UGC informed that there are only 9 professors, 38 associate professors, and 1,327 assistant professors under the OBC category.
“Still 304 professor, 697 associate professor, and 905 assistant professor posts are vacant under the OBC category. University of Hyderabad is not exceptional in filling OBC positions. The main reason for not filling OBC positions is keeping the ‘none found suitable’ option despite having minimum eligibility conditions,” said Kumar.
He is worried that less OBC representation at professor and associate professor levels will seriously impact the representation of OBCs in administrative positions.
In 2015, University of Hyderabad constituted an OBC committee with Professor KS Prasad as chairman and submitted the report with recommendations. Gowda has alleged they’ve not been fulfilled.
There was a recommendation on reviewing the roster register to know the actual shortfall and backlog reservation points against each category, SC, ST, OBC; the committee demanded OBC representation in the selection committee/board and also a ‘separate department of rosters’ for independent functioning among others.
The other issues discussed included a demand for review on the spending of OBC grants given under the implementation of OBC reservations as per the Central Educational Institutions (Reservations in Admissions) Act, 2006. The UGC had earlier written to the University of Hyderabad in the year 2008, mentioning “the interest accrued on the grant released by UGC for this purpose shall be utilized on this project/scheme only”.
“The other level of discrimination is happening at the PhD and MPhil interviews. In spite of clearing entrance exams after clearing cut-offs, the admission committee of certain departments like material engineering, philosophy, etc, are not filling reserved seats after conducting interviews,” according to the representation made by Kumar.
He informed the NCBC that the opportunities are being denied by simply keeping the ‘not recommended’ option, which is against the UGC (Minimum Standards and Procedure for Award of MPHIL/PHD Degrees) (2nd Amendment) Regulations, 2018.
“Nearly 100 out of 328 PhD seats notified in the Prospectus 2020-21 are vacant due to cut-offs and discriminatory practices against the students in certain departments and centres in the University of Hyderabad,” he said in the representation.
After the hearing was over, Kumar said, “We are thankful to the National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC) for conducting the public hearing at the University of Hyderabad on various OBC issues. We hope that the University of Hyderabad administration will rectify deviations and diversions if found for the empowerment of OBCs on the campus.”