UGC’s Draft Guidelines Spark Outrage over ‘Dereservation’ in Faculty Recruitment
Jan. 30, 2024

Why in the News?

  • The Union government and the University Grants Commission (UGC) have clarified that faculty positions in universities reserved for SC, ST, OBC, and EWS candidates will not be opened to the general category.
  • This was done after academicians criticised the UGC’s draft guidelines which suggested the possibility of opening unfilled vacancies for SC, ST, OBC candidates to general candidates in “rare and exceptional cases”.

What’s in Today’s Article?

  • About UGC (Objective, Mandate)
  • News Summary (Draft Proposal, Current Scenario, etc.)

University Grants Commission (UGC)

  • The University Grants Commission of India is a statutory body under the provisions of UGC Act, 1956.
  • It is responsible for coordination, determination and maintenance of standards of higher education.
  • It provides recognition to universities in India, and disburses funds to such recognized universities and college.
  • Nodal Ministry: Department of Higher Education, Ministry of Education

Mandate of UGC

  • Promoting and coordinating university education.
  • Determining and maintaining standards of teaching, examination and research in universities.
  • Framing regulations on minimum standards of education.
  • Monitoring developments in the field of collegiate and university education; disbursing grants to the universities and colleges.
  • Serving as a vital link between the Union and State governments and institutions of higher learning.
  • Advising the Central and State governments on the measures necessary for the improvement of university education.

News Summary:

  • In December, 2023, the higher education regulator had shared draft guidelines on implementing the reservation policy in higher education institutions for public feedback by the end of January, 2024.
  • This draft is prepared by a four-member committee headed by the director of the Institute of Public Administration, Dr H S Rana.
  • Among the key recommendations of the committee, it proposed de-reservation of unfilled quota posts meant for teachers, officers, and employees of a university.
  • The committee suggested that there is a “general ban on de-reservation of reserved vacancies in case of direct recruitment”, in exceptional circumstances it can be done if the university can provide adequate justification for it.
  • The draft guidelines specify that proposals for de-reservation concerning job positions designated for Group A and Group B posts should be submitted to the Education Ministry.
    • Similarly, proposals for Group C and D posts should be forwarded to the Executive Council (the top decision-making body) of the university for special permission.
  • These proposals would have to provide information such as the designation, pay scale, name of the service, responsibilities, required qualifications, efforts made to fill the post, and why it cannot be allowed to remain vacant.
  • This led to criticism by sections of the academia.
  • The UGC chairman then clarified that is it just a draft and anything related to de-reservation will be taken out of it while making the final document.

What is the Current Position?

  • In the current scenario, reserved faculty positions are not converted to recruit general candidates.
  • While the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) permits de-reservation in exceptional circumstances exclusively for Group A posts, this provision has not been put into effect in universities.
  • Unfilled quota positions undergo re-advertisement, and universities organise special recruitment drives until suitable candidates are identified, without opening these positions to the general category.