IIT and Reservation

I never wanted to visit this subject so soon. But there are two reasons for that: First, NDTV had in ‘The Big Fight’ yesterday debated the righteousness of 49. 5 % reservations based on the caste of the parent of the candidates. Second, some 3 lakh students are attempting to compete for IIT’s seats today through its entrance examination.

I wonder why those who decide and discuss about the IITs are all non-IITians even after about 57 years of the start of IITs. Why should the issue be not discussed and debated by the IITians?

I am an IITian, however, as an engineer from IIT one didn’t get any extra advantage such as a higher entry salary. Does an IITian get it today? Even during the professional career, I didn’t get my promotions or increments just because I was from IIT. I am sure it must be the case even today too. I can only advise all who aspire to be engineers to work hard, to be innovative, and different. It is many entrance examinations that one is to cross to succeed professionally almost everyday of active life.
It is only public sector or the government that can protect those who wish to cross today the barrier of right score at IIT-JEE by the birth certificate saying caste. Who but their own ability will help them in the life ahead, once they have chosen to be technocrats?

I am not sure if the reservations in long run will kill the brand image of IITs, as many such as Dr. Indersan, the former director of IIT, Madras predicts. However, I strongly consider the reservation as discriminatory and against human rights of equality. What is this reservation? It allows a student of reserved class getting the admission with a much lower score while one from unreserved caste is denied even after scoring much higher marks in the entrance examination. And the logic of reservation based on centuries of oppression of those castes by the higher castes is divisive and may perpetuate the hatred between the people of different castes. And it is all because of the politicians and their only mission to the vote bank in their favour. I wish the people of the country could realize that.

Today caste doesn’t indicate any prosperity level. If one visits the rural India, the difference becomes obvious. After many divisions over years, a landowner family of higher castes has got only half a hectare of land. Many of so-called lower caste do also own that. And going by the living standard, there is even more equity. Reserved castes are having better accessibility to education and other facilities such as subsidized food grain.

But let us leave all that for the time being. Why, instead of providing reservation and dilution of the standard of IIT for entry, can’t the government bear all the expenditure of the candidates of reserved categories appearing for the IIT-JEE Entrance Examination at the preparatory stages itself? Let the government create a funding and give whatever the candidates require and spend in coaching at school or at specialized institutes, say those at Kota.

Alternatively, the state or central government on its own or through PPP (Public-Private-partnership) establish special preparatory institutes to train some 20,000 best students from reserved categories to compete for the institutes of national importance such as IITs and IIMs. Even the IIT or IIM alumni belonging to the categories can come out with such preparatory institutes.

And I appeal even the intellectuals supporting reservations must also demand that instead of pleading entry with lower score. Let the merit, as criteria must not be compromised for the higher institutes and the jobs. Let there be system of clear grievance handling if some have genuine grievances of partial decision by individual or the system. Let the reservation not perpetuate heart burning and hatred among the people of the same country.

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