Mon. Mar 4th, 2024

Congress MP K C Venugopal on Friday asked the Union government to take steps to stop caste-based discrimination against Scheduled Castes (SC), Scheduled Tribes (SC), and Other Backward Classes (OBC) in higher educational institutions.

Congress MP and general secretary (organisation) KC Venogopal (HT Photo)

Speaking in the Rajya Sabha, Venugopal referred to the worrying statistics revealed by Congress MP K Suresh a day earlier in the Lok Sabha, according to which around 13,500 students belonging to the SC, ST, and OBC communities have dropped out of central universities, Indian Institute of Technology, and Indian Institute of Management in the last five years.

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Suresh had also demanded steps from the Centre in Lok Sabha on Thursday to stop caste-based discrimination in higher educational institutes.

“This is a pressing issue that needs an immediate intervention from the Union government,” Venugopal said.

Venugopal also gave a break-up of the data and said that around 4,596 OBC candidates, 2,424 SC candidates, and 2,622 ST candidates have dropped out of central universities in the last five years.

Similarly, 2,066 OBC candidates, 1,068 SC candidates, and 408 ST candidates have dropped out of the Indian Institute of Technology. From the Indian Institute of Management, 163 OBC candidates, 188 SC candidates, and 91 ST candidates dropped out in the same period.

“The minister [on Thursday] explained that the students have various options for going to other programs and that is why this is happening. But do only OBC, ST, and SC students have these options? Why is it only happening to these students?” asked Venugopal, who is also the Congress general secretary (organisation).

“It should also be noted that our major institutions like IIM and IIT were in the headlines due to caste-based discrimination and other discriminatory activities”, he added.

Venugopal further pointed out the high suicide rates among the ST, ST, and OBC people in this period. He said that the Union government told the Parliament in December 2021 that 122 students had died by suicide at higher education government-run institutes between 2014–2021.

“Of these, 24 belonged to the SC community, three were from the ST community, and 41 were from OBCs,” he said.

“I ask the government of India to take immediate steps, intervene, and address the concerns on this discrimination within educational institutions,” Venugopal said.

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