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HRD minister Prakash Javadekar. Ramesh Pathania/Mint
HRD minister Prakash Javadekar. Ramesh Pathania/Mint

HRD ministry may bring in faculty quota ordinance in 2 weeks

HRD ministry has answered law ministry’s queries and are awaiting the final approval from it on the ordinance on reservation policy in appointing teaching staff at universities

New Delhi: The human resource development (HRD) ministry may bring in an ordinance in the next two weeks to restore the reservation policy in appointing teaching staff at universities.

“We have answered the queries from the law ministry on certain anomalies and are awaiting the final approval from it on the ordinance," a HRD ministry official said, requesting anonymity.

HRD minister Prakash Javadekar had said last week that he was keeping a close watch on the faculty reservation issues and preparing to take action.

In October 2017, the University Grants Commission (UGC) had introduced rules, making reservation applicable at the department level instead of at the university level. The UGC rules had followed an Allahabad High Court order of April 2017. The new UGC rules had led to widespread protests across universities with professors and critics saying that such a move will deprive many candidates of reserved category of jobs.

The ministry is awaiting the hearing of the special leave petition on faculty reservation in the Supreme Court, a second government official said, also requesting anonymity. The ministry moved court to reverse the high court verdict.

“The hearing is expected to be held by the month end. If there is any delay, we will go for an ordinance, as appointments are being stalled because of this," the first official said.

The law ministry had asked the HRD ministry to address all anomalies related to reservation of teaching staff, officials said. While scheduled caste and scheduled tribe reservation in faculty appointment happens across all levels, from assistant professors to professors, reservation for other backward classes is applied only till the level of assistant professor.

“The question of extending OBC reservations at all levels needs to be addressed after due consultation with all stake holders. We just want to restore the reservation roster with the university as the unit, instead of the department as a unit," the official said.

“The UGC reservation rules in place for last year hampers social inclusion in appointments. The ministry has to decide quickly through an ordinance on the subject. Else it will have two ramifications. One, wider protest in campuses and two, teacher appointment will get delayed impacting academic activities," said a Delhi University professor who asked not to be named.

The ministry said there are more than 6,000 vacant positions at central universities and unless reservation rules are finalized, it will not be possible to fill up the posts.

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