Bahujan students are severely under-represented in PhD programmes at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Delhi, a Right to Information (RTI) query has revealed. Out of the total 861 (excluding foreign nationals) students enrolled in 2020-21, only 21 (2.43%) students belonged to the Scheduled Tribes (STs), 58 (6.73%) to Scheduled Castes (SCs), and 155 (18%) to Other Backward Classes (OBCs), while 55 students (6.15%) belonged to Economically Weaker Sections (EWSs).
Also, of the total 32 departments in IIT Delhi, 20 departments had zero ST candidates in PhD programmes for 2020-21, 16 had zero SC candidates, four had no OBC candidates and two had no female candidates.
The RTI request was filed by Egalitarians, a non-profit organisation. The constitutionally mandated quota in central government institutions is 7.5% for STs, 15% for SCs, 27% for OBCs, and 10% for EWSs.
IIT Delhi does not score too well on gender diversity either. For 2020-21, out of the total 861 candidates enrolled for PhD, only 326 (37.8%) were female. The data from previous years also show predominance of male candidates. For example, in 2018-19, out of 680 candidates, only 273 (40.1%) were female.
Egalitarians had also sought details regarding IIT Delhi’s teaching faculty composition, however the institute refused to divulge this data without any explanation. A member of the Egalitarians said, “It’s odd that they want to keep this information under wraps. Nonetheless, this is a gross violation of the RTI Act. We have lodged an appeal.”
Recently, data from IIT Kharagpur had also revealed severe under-representation of SC/ST/OBCs in faculty as well as PhD programmes in violation of reservation norms.