New Delhi: The question of student suicide in Central Higher Education Institutions including IITs was raised in the Lok Sabha. To this, Union Minister of State for Education Subhash Sarkar has said that 61 suicides have occurred in higher educational institutions in 5 years and 21 higher educational institutions do not have SC and ST sections.
In the question raised by S. Venkatesan, MP from Madurai constituency in the Lok Sabha, “What measures have been taken to prevent suicides occurring in central educational institutions including IIT Mumbai recently?” SC, ST cells set up by central institution wise, did the chief advisor of IIT Mumbai student welfare center speak publicly against reservation? If such people are in such groups, how can Scheduled Castes and Tribes students have confidence? What are the arrangements for putting appropriate people into such groups? Are there any guidelines for Scheduled Tribe representation in such committees?” He had asked.
Union Minister of State for Education Subhash Sarkar said in response to the questions of S. Venkatesan, an MP of the Communist Party of India: “Out of 108 central educational institutions, 87 have SC and ST cells. These cells are arranged at IIT 19 (23), IIIT 14 (25), IISER 7 (7), IIM 20 (20), NIT 26 (32), IISC 1 (1). Other organizations have the provision of Equal Opportunity Cell, Student Grievance Redressal Cell, Student Grievance Redressal Committee, Student Community Forum, Grievance Redressal Officer.
A total of 61 student suicides have occurred in IITs 33, NITs 24 and IIMs 4 in the last five years. The University Grants Commission has issued several circulars on anti-rogging in 2009, student grievance judgment in 2019 and National Suicide Prevention Mechanism in 2023. The National Education Policy 2020 has given guidance on how to improve the mental strength of students through student counselling, emotional balance, sports, culture, social service and ecology.
The institute is providing due support to the family of the student who died at IIT Mumbai and is cooperating with the Special Investigation Team set up by the Maharashtra government along with an internal investigation. The chief adviser of the student welfare center, who expressed views against reservation, has been removed and appointments have been made to ensure representation of scheduled castes and tribes,” the minister said.
Su Venkatesan MP Interview: Regarding this, Su.Venkatesan MP told reporters: “The minister’s answer is shocking. 61 Suicides reflect the persistence of a ‘stressful environment’ in central educational institutions. Still 21 institutes do not have SC and ST cells, it is clear that these higher education institutes have not learned a lesson from so many suicides and the government has not monitored and ensured. It is painful that the Minister is instead trying to account for common groups and complaint systems under other names.
It is reprehensible that those institutions and the government are waiting for suicides to happen. Isn’t there even a common understanding that those cells should work in the name of SC and ST cells, only then will hope be born? Or is it a reflection of the Sanatana approach? The questions arise.
Answers about IIT Mumbai are a proof of the fact that caste-conscious people sit in the committees they are talking about and SC and ST sections are not represented. He opined that the removal of the reservation detractor only after a huge public outcry and the hasty filling of SC and ST representation was an “impact control” move.
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