RGU to consider filling up vacant PhD seats with ST candidates

Staff Reporter

ITANAGAR, 9 Sep: Days after the All Arunachal Pradesh Students’ Union (AAPSU) sought suspension of the ongoing PhD admission at Rajiv Gandhi University (RGU), the university has agreed to “consider filling up the vacant PhD seats with ST candidates on merit basis.”

The university said that it is “assessing the merit of the case, and will decide after the due process of assessment is completed.”

The union had earlier claimed that, for the total 138 vacant seats, only 56 APST students have been selected.

On the central reservation rules for PhD candidates, RGU authorities said that the university has reservation rules for selection of candidates for PhD as per the university’s ordinance, “available at https://rgu.ac.in/act-ordinances/.” The university said that it is following the government of India’s reservation policy for STs.

As per the central norms, there is 27 percent reservation for OBCs, 15 percent for SCs and 7.5 percent reservation for STs.

In the meantime, AAPSU general secretary Tobom Dai informed that a delegation of the union had a meeting with the vice chancellor and officials of RGU on 7 September, during which, he said, the university agreed to “offer some seats to APST candidates.”

The AAPSU said that “negotiation is still on to increase the intake of APST candidates, but we want rectification of the ordinance. We just want our APST candidates also to get their due share for research study, and any ordinance that does not augment it needs to be re-looked into. The apex students’ union is firm in it stand that APST students don’t get relegated due to an ordinance where there was not even a single tribal professor in the committee.”

“RGU reportedly switched to the central norms this year onwards. In order to bring central government norms into practice, every university constitutes a committee to frame the ordinances. This committee is called the ordinance committee. It is like a law/guideline book for PhD seat distribution. In the ordinance, as seen in NEHU, Mizoram and Nagaland universities, a special clause can be added to give additional weightage to APST students or students belonging from the local catchment area. But what went down here was that in the ordinance committee, not a single local faculty was included to be part and put their suggestions. Only a few non-locals were given the task to make the ordinance. In such a case, it is deemed to be anti-tribal. Many senior local teachers have also written to the vice chancellor on this matter, expressing their discontent,” a PhD scholar said.

Another scholar said, “When there are three or four vacant PhD seats in a department, reservation system does not come into play. In such a case, all the seats ultimately come under ‘unreserved’ category. In this year’s result, it is observed that most of the unreserved seats were allocated to OBC and SC people. APST people could also have been included here.”

Earlier, on 4 September, the AAPSU had written to the RGU VC, seeking immediate suspension of the PhD admission, terming it “anti-tribal and against the interest of the state.”