From next week, Delhi University (DU) will start conducting interviews for MPhil and PhD admissions with 5% relaxation in qualifying marks for research aspirants from the socially deprived sections.

Admissions to research courses were delayed by one-and-a-half months following protests over a new norm that made it mandatory for candidates to score 50% marks — for both general and reserved candidates — in the entrance exam to be qualified for the interview.

The University Grants Commission (UGC) had laid down the new rules for MPhil and PhD admissions in May 2016. In June, the university declared the list of selected candidates seeking admission to research courses. But on July 23, DU in an “urgent notification” directed the departments to follow the new norm.

The move triggered an uproar. A large number of seats went vacant across departments as very few students managed to score 50% marks. In some departments, no SC, ST and OBC candidates qualified for the interview. Following this, DU postponed interviews for all the courses.

In a notice on Monday, the university asked the departments to start conducting interviews for all categories following a directive from the UGC on August 27.

“A relaxation of 5% marks (from 50% to 45%) shall be allowed for candidates belonging to SC/ST/OBC and differently abled categories in the entrance exam,” the university’s research council chairperson said Pami Dua in the notice.

The departments were directed to further relax the norms if they fail to fill all the reserved seats. “If in spite of the relaxation, if candidates for SC/ST/OBC and differently abled category (are) not available, the respective departments shall explore suitable policies to fill the vacant…” it said.

Research aspirants said the situation will remain the same for MPhil in several departments even after the relaxation. “We have compiled data that shows that even after the relaxation, some departments such as Economics, Zoology, Linguistics and Arabic will have no candidate from the reserved categories,” said Ajeet, a candidate who has been protesting since July.

The data says in some departments such as Botany, Persian, Geology and Statistics, there will be no admission in MPhil under all categories if the criteria are followed.

For instance, in Botany, the MPhil entrance topper has scored 90 out of 196 marks. A general candidate will require minimum 98 marks and a reserved category candidate will need 88.2 marks to be eligible for the interview. However, no aspirant has scored the minimum required marks.

The general category candidates are still in a fix. “The relaxation is for the reserved category only. What about the departments where even no one has qualified from the general category. We will soon start a fresh agitation,” said Sanchita, a general category candidate.

Botany department officials said there will be no admission in the general category. “No aspirant has scored the minimum required marks. Even if we give a 5% relaxation, it will not make any difference,” an official said.

Despite several attempts, DU vice-chancellor Yogesh Tyagi and registrar Tarun Das did not respond.

First Published: Sep 12, 2018 04:33 IST

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