RTI data for 2015-2019 reveals a low acceptance rate of students from marginalized communities, 25 out of 26 departments also not meeting OBC, SC quotas

None of IIT Bombay’s 26 departments managed to occupy the seats reserved for Scheduled Tribe doctoral students. programs between 2015 and 2019, based on data obtained through Right to Information requests.

Data obtained by the Ambedkar Periyar Phule Study Circle, a collective of IIT Bombay students, showed that 25 of the 26 departments failed to meet the quota of other backward classes (OBCs) and scheduled castes ( SC). Eleven of the 26 departments did not admit a single student in the ST category during the reporting period.

Of the 2,874 admissions for which data was provided by the institution, 71.6% went to General Category (GC) students, which, in IIT terms, were mostly students from historically privileged; 19.2% went to CBOs, 7.5% to SC and 1.6% to ST. The reservation policy requires a minimum allocation of 27% to CBOs, 15% to SCs and 7.5% to STs.

Bias entry

In 13 of the 26 departments, over 75% of the seats went to GC students.

The data showed that the acceptance rate, which refers to the number of selected students per 100 applicants, was lower for students in the reserved categories than for those in GC. While the acceptance rate was 3.8% for GCs, it was 3.1% for OBCs and STs and 2.5% for SCs.

In 16 of 26 departments, this bias in acceptance rate was more pronounced, with SC and ST students having acceptance rates that were half or lower than those of GC applicants.

For example, the Electrical Engineering (EE) and Mechanical Engineering (ME) departments had the highest number of ST applicants. While two of the 148 ST candidates were selected in EE with an acceptance rate of 1.4%, the acceptance rate was 3.8% for GC. In ME, not a single ST candidate out of 110 candidates was selected while 168 students were selected from 4,590 candidates under GC with an acceptance rate of 3.7%.

In the Energy Science and Engineering department, only 5 of the 610 SC applicants were selected with an acceptance rate of 0.8%. In contrast, 82 of 3,902 GC candidates were selected with an acceptance rate of 2.1%.

Read also | Poor representation of SC, ST at the doctorate. programs at IIT Madras

IT was one of the few departments that recorded dismal acceptance rates in the OBC, SC, and ST categories. Only five of the 797 OBC applicants, four of the 495 SC applicants and one of the 78 ST applicants were selected with an acceptance rate of 0.6%, 0.8% and 1.3% respectively. In contrast, 69 applicants from 2,997 GC applicants were selected with an acceptance rate of 2.3%.

The Center for Resource Engineering Studies (CSRE) and the SJM School of Management (SJMSM) were the two departments that did not admit a single student among the SC and ST applicants. The two departments together selected 74 students from 1,780 candidates under GC. However, none were selected from among 313 SC and ST applicants.

Environmental Science and Engineering (ESE) and the Center for Policy Studies were the only departments to occupy reserved seats for OBC and SC students. ESE and the Humanities and Social Sciences (HSS) have moved closer to filling the reserved seats for S&T. HSS also had a slightly better acceptance rate for OBC, SC, and ST applicants.


The data also indicates that more students from marginalized communities were rejected at the interview stage.

A comparison of the proportion of students from different categories showed that their proportion remained roughly the same at the application stage and at the interview stage. Overall, about 12% of applicants were rejected; the remaining 88% have reached the interview stage.

However, among those selected after the interviews, while the percentage of GC increased to 71.6%, the proportion of students from all other categories decreased.

GC applicants represented 64.8%, OBCs 22.2%, SCs 11.1%, and STs 1.9% at the application and interview stages. However, among those selected after the interviews, while the percentage of GC increased to 71.6%, the proportion of students from all other categories decreased.

‘Fair selection’

In response to questions about the data, the IIT Bombay administration said the selection process was fair and transparent.

“Lower thresholds and additional efforts are being made to take candidates according to reservation categories to fill the seats,” said a spokesperson for the Institute.

Read also | Social justice cannot be ignored in the name of academic excellence

With the acceptance rate being different, the spokesperson said, “IITs have high expectations of our students, which is necessary to conduct research towards a doctorate.

“While we have enough applicants in some departments, in some other departments students of the required caliber tend to take on industry jobs rather than joining a PhD which has additional uncertainties and income levels. lower during the doctorate and in some areas even after the doctorate. It is possible that family background and economic level may have an impact on these candidates applying for a doctorate. This requires an appropriate socio-economic study, ”added the spokesperson.

This is the last part of a three part series. Read part 1 and part 2.

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