ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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IIMs and Reservations

The issue of reservation in faculty appointments and in doctoral progammes (fellowship programmes) has brought the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) back to the centre of public discourse. Though the IIMs are a minuscule part of the higher education landscape in the country, they have always occupied a disproportionately large space in the public imagination. The IIMs, though public institutions, have emerged as centres of excellence in professional education with appreciable global recognition. Of late, their numbers have increased to 19. By covering a wide geographical area, they cater to the felt needs of access to management education by the increasing numbers of aspiring youth. In this sense, the IIMs can be seen as trendsetters in an otherwise not so encouraging scene of higher education in India. Expectedly, what happens in the IIMs has wider ramifications for higher education in particular and the country in general. This is equally applicable in the present case of reservations. The way the IIMs respond to this pressing issue would be a test case for addressing the larger issue of social access and inclusion in elite educational institutions in our country.

It is not that the IIMs have been totally indifferent to the practice of reservations. At present, the IIMs have the Government of India mandated 49.5% quota in place. The quotas of 15% for the Scheduled Castes and 7.5% for the Scheduled Tribes in the postgraduate programme have been there since the 1970s. The 27% quota for the non-creamy layer of the Other Backward Classes is in operation since 2008. In effect, the reservation debate about IIMs boils down to extending similar reservations to their fellowship programmes and faculty appointments. As a matter of fact, the IIMs have managed to do without reservation despite continuing demand from the government and other stakeholders. Recently, the enduring issue of reservation has been brought to the centre stage by none other than the minister of human resource development, who reminded the IIMs of their constitutional obligations at the 20 September 2016 coordination committee meeting of the chairpersons and directors of IIMs at Shillong. It would be interesting to see how the IIMs respond to this renewed demand for openness that they have historically circumvented.

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Updated On : 31st Mar, 2017
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