Alumni of Indian Institutes of Management- Ahmedabad (IIM-A) have written a fresh petition to the director of the institute raising the issue of lack of diversity at the institute and to implement reservations for SC/ST groups in the Fellow Programme in Management (FPM – a postgraduate programme).
The petition by a group of PGP programme alumni at IIM-A highlighted that the institute has defied constitutional and statutory mandates in its doctoral admissions. "Several alumni have previously argued that the current dismal social diversity among IIM faculty members is a direct result of neglect of social diversity in IIM-A (and other IIMs) fellow programs that are the single biggest source of IIM faculty members. Alumni groups have indeed pointed out that the social composition of IIM faculty bodies is akin to apartheid era of South Africa --- less than 10% of social groups in India account for over 90% of all faculty members at IIMs," reads the letter addressed to Prof D’Souza, Director of IIM-A.
The petition raises an issue going back several decades that was earlier highlighted by Deepak Malghan and Siddharth Joshi from IIM-Bangalore in 2017. In a study released in 2017, the duo pointed out that out of over 500 faculty members at IIMs that they could survey, only two are from the SC community. The duo obtained data through multiple Right to Information applications filed at individual IIMs as well as with the Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India.
Speaking to TNM in 2017, Deepak said about the study, "One can start talking about solutions once we very clearly and unequivocally acknowledge that there is indeed a problem on our hands. What we are trying to do is to get people to recognise that the status quo is simply not legitimate as far as the public institutions go."
"It has been an invisible elephant in the room for about three to four decades now. It's just that we haven't paid enough attention. We are here through a series of errors, both commission and omission, something that cumulatively added over the last four decades. What Siddharth and I have tried to do is essentially put this in the public domain and try and begin a conversation around," he had said.
In 2018, an updated study found that among 642 IIM faculty members surveyed, only four are from the SC community and one is from the ST community. Moreover, only 13 faculty members belonged to the Other Backward Classes (OBC) group. The researchers argued that most IIM faculty do their post-graduate programme at IIM and that diversity in accepting applicants for the post-graduate programme was essential.
Following the study, an IIM alumni group had written to the directors of all IIMs in August 2017 asking that the matter of diversity be addressed urgently. Three months later, IIM-Bangalore announced that it will implement government-mandated reservation quota for SC/ST/OBC candidates in its admission to the Fellow Programme in Management (FPM) course for the academic year 2018-19.
Government-mandated reservation quota for SC/ST/OBC candidates have since been implemented in other IIMs like IIM-Calcutta, IIM-Tiruchirappali, IIM-Shillong, IIM-Raipur, IIM-Lucknow, IIM-Kashipur, IIM-Indore, IIM Vishakhapatnam, IIM-Rohtak, IIM-Kozhikode and IIM-Ranchi.
However, it continues to be a cause for concern in IIM-Ahmedabad and alumni of the institute have come together to once again reiterate the demand.