Six new IITs set up to bring back the focus on JEE

new IITA bill providing for opening six new IITs, including one at Jammu and Tirupati, was passed last week by the Lok Sabha. Under the Institutes of Technology (Amendment) Bill 2016, new IITs will also be started in Palakkad, Goa, Dharward and Bhilai. The Union Cabinet cleared a proposal in this regard on Wednesday, December 2, 2015. The Bill also seeks to bring the Indian School of Mines, Dhanbad, within the ambit of the Act.

Factual Information: Irrespective of the fact that the Bill has been passed just about five days ago by the Lok Sabha, as per the official website of JoSAA the six New IITs have offered admission in the academic session 2016-17 to the IIT aspirants who have cleared both JEE Main and JEE Advanced. The 2 new IITs- IIT Tirupati and IIT Palakkad (being mentored by IIT Madras) were established last year.  From the sources it has been revealed that each new IIT will have an initial intake of 180 students in its first year which would increase to 450 in the second year and to 928 (840 Undergraduates, 80 Postgraduates and 8 PhDs) in the third year of their operation.

The new IITs will be operated from their temporary campuses for the initial period of three years before shifting to their permanent campuses in the 4th year. Each IIT will have a sanctioned strength of faculty members, with a faculty-student ratio of 1:10. The six new IITs will be registered as Societies as the Institutes of Technology Act, 1961, contains no provision to enable establishment of new IITs.

Amongst these 6 IITs, IIT Jammu, Chhattisgarh, Goa were announced by the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) in 2014, while IIT in Karnataka was announced in 2015. In year 2014 and 2015, a total of 6 IITs were zeroed upon, but only two were added owing to administrative reasons. With the total number of IITs increasing to 23, the total number of undergraduate engineering seats at IITs will also go up from the existing 10,006 seats.

On December 2, 2015 in a meeting, the Cabinet presided by Prime Minister Narendra Modi gave its approval for opening of these IITs initially by forming of Societies under the Societies Registration Act, 1860 in order to give them legal status till the amendment for their incorporation in The Institutes of Technology Act, 1961 is enacted. On the other hand MPs are cutting across party lines urging the government to focus on quality and inclusive education in the premier institutes.

Replying to a debate on the bill, HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar said the government has formed High Education Financial Agency (HEFA) to upgrade the infrastructure. The government’s credo is ‘Sabko Shiksha Acchi Shiksa (Good Education to All) and has taken a number of efforts in this regards.

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Moving towards the Fee Structure of IITs, the students from the ST and SC communities, from the Below Poverty Line (BPL) category and physically challenged have full waiver of fees in the IITs and NITs. “Those whose family income is below Rs. 9 lakh per annum also get education loan with zero percent interest rate. The government spends Rs 6 lakh per year on every student and has fixed the maximum fee as Rs 2 lakh. SC/ST students will get a complete fee waiver. The handicapped and those who belong to below Rs 1 lakh annual income category will also study for free. Those whose annual income is less than Rs 5 lakh will have to pay Rs 60,000, and those with below Rs 9 lakh as annual income will get interest-free loans,” HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar said while replying to a debate on the Bill that lasted more than three hours.

Mind it!! up to 50% of the students will pay the enhanced tuition fees. Students admitted to IITs are guaranteed interest-free loans. The substantially higher tuition fee, however, is only a third or a fourth of the government’s actual expenditure on an undergraduate IIT student. The IITs must aggressively focus on getting endowments, alumni contributions and donations, and increased earnings from consultancy, research and patents if they are serious about financial autonomy.

Addressing the issue of high fees charged by those who offer coaching class to crack the IIT exam, HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar informed the gathering that the government has started online programme IIT-PAL. Under this programme the students can take free tutorials, exams, homework. In future, he said, the government is also planning to take it at the television level for a wider access. How much this online program will run-efficiently, only our hon’ble HRD minister would be able to answer the same. It’s alredy been reported that the coaching institutes are already making crores, cashing in on IIT aspirants.

Role of industry in the IITs: The government is ready to reduce its control but the industry has to accept a larger responsibility. The government has been working to provide WiFi connectivity of 1 GBPS network to all universities in the country which will slowly be extended to the colleges affiliated to it as well in next two years. In Central universities, this facility will be extended to classrooms, canteens, hostels.

Kindly Note: The funding in IITs have gone down, saying this year, the government has allocated Rs. 4035 crore to the IITs as against Rs. 3855 crore the last year.

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