IIT Placements 2023: SC, ST, OBC students fear bias as recruiters ask JEE Advanced rank

IIT recruiters are asking for JEE Advanced CRL or general ranks for SC, ST, OBC students and giving no provision for category ranks.

IIT Placements 2023: Many students in the past have highlighted caste discrimination in IITs. (Image Source: Sheena Sachdeva)IIT Placements 2023: Many students in the past have highlighted caste discrimination in IITs. (Image Source: Sheena Sachdeva)

Sheena Sachdeva | November 15, 2023 | 03:38 PM IST

NEW DELHI: Recruiters participating in placements at the Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT) are asking candidates to declare their ranks on the common rank list (CRL) of the Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) Advanced in the pre-placement forms. Students from historically-marginalised Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Classes fear this is an indirect way of determining if they benefited from reservation and sifting them out of the IIT placement process. IIT placements 2023 begin from December 1.

The CRL is the ranking of JEE Advanced result scores based on which students are admitted to unreserved seats at the IITs. However, students from SC, ST, OBC and EWS categories are admitted on the basis of separate rank lists. The recruiters haven’t given candidates an option to fill in ranks on the lists for their specific categories. IIT administrators are aware that JEE Advanced ranks are often used to expose candidates who have taken admission through reservation to harassment.

“Complaints have come from IIT Kanpur, IIT Patna and IIT Guwahati so far from students for companies Tata Jaguar Land Rover (JLR), Navi Technologies, Merilytics and Niva Bupa Insurance to fill their CRL rank of JEE Advanced in their pre-placement forms with no option for students from category ranks. These biases are leading to the lack of a level playing field for marginalised students,” said Dheeraj Singh, an IIT Kanpur alumnus who leads the Global IIT SC/ST Alumni Support Group. Singh has also filed a complaint with the ministry of education, ministry of social justice and empowerment; and the National Commissions for Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, and Other Backward Classes on November 14.

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IIT Placements: Student concerns

Started in October, the alumni group is helping students navigate the recruitment and IIT placement process. “We have 250 students now in seven batches. Mentors have expanded to 25 across different sectors including softwares, data, consulting, core engineering, etc,” said Singh. The club was started after a group of alumni visited IIT Delhi following the suicides of two Dalit students, Ayush Ashna and Anil Verma within two months.

Since the pre-placement process began, the mentorship club has received several complaints from SC, ST and OBC students. Many are “panicking” with the start of online screening tests for placements.

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“I am afraid that if I mention anywhere that I don't have a CRL rank but a category rank, they won't select me for further process. I have worked hard and have a CGPA of 7.9. Seeing that such people are there who want to judge on the basis of general rank is very disheartening,” wrote one student to Singh.

Despite administration and student bodies being aware of it, no action has been taken. “It's an on-going unchecked practice which has been happening within the full knowledge and facilitation of IITs administration. What are the ST/SC OBC cells doing about it?” asked Singh. Asking the institutions and relevant student bodies to take a stand and be accountable, he added: “They should take cognisance of these matters as 50% of the students from historically-marginalised backgrounds lack a level playing field.”

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Further, there is no clarity on how this data will be used, which is against the privacy laws, he said. In an email to IIT Kanpur, Singh wrote that companies asking students for general JEE Mains and JEE advanced ranks is a “blatant attempt to discriminate against SC/ST/OBC students”.

The solution is to take off irrelevant information companies are collecting leading to inaccessibility of job opportunities for historically marginalised students, added Singh.

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