By Rajiv Shukla
NEW DELHI : The Finance Ministry has rejected the Rs 8,700 crore
Project Vishwajeet aimed at boosting the global ranking of the top seven
Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs).
Project Vishwajeet was proposed and
approved by the IIT Council at its August 23 meeting last year following
which the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) proposed a Rs 8,700 crore plan that would help enhance the global ranking of the seven
IITs --Delhi, Bombay, Madras, Kharagpur, Kanpur, Roorkee and Guwahati.
The rejection has come as a setback to the
IITs which slipped further in global ranking this year. The IITs
were supposed to use the funds (Rs 1,250 crore each over a five-year
period) to upgrade their infrastructure, hire foreign faculty members,
tie up with international institutions and adopt a host of other
measures to improve their QS and the Times global
Sources said the Finance Ministry has turned down the MHRD request for
in-principle approval of the project with a note that the IITs should
first address “fundamental issues” such as autonomy to fix fees,
raising resources from corporate houses and alumni members, and
strengthening existing schemes.
Strangely no Indian institute of higher education figured in the top
200 of the 14th edition of the Times Higher Education’s World
University Rankings released on September 5, triggering concerns about
the falling standards of education in India and its possible impact
on the job market. Only the Indian Institute of Science-Bangalore (IISc)
figured in the 251-300 band of the list, which lists the top 1,000
universities from 77 countries.
While IIT-Bombay retained its position in the 351-400 band, its
counterparts at Delhi and Kanpur slipped from the 401-500 segment in
2016 to 501-600 this year. IIT-Madras fared even worse, figuring only in
the 601-800 band.
Sources said that while turning down the money demand, the Finance
Minister suggested that the IITs first construct world-class
laboratories through existing grants or the recently launched Institute
of Eminence scheme.
“Under the Institute of Eminence scheme,
10 select government institutes will be given approximately Rs 1,000
crore. The finance ministry suggested that the IITs compete for that
scheme instead of expecting funds through the Vishwajeet project,” the
The overall budget of IITs received a hike of Rs 2,468 crore in
2017-18 to touch Rs 7,856 crore.
Project Vishwajeet included plans to fill
20 per cent vacancies with foreign faculty, allow off campus Ph.D
students, 20% international students at undergraduate and postgraduate
level, a 1:7 faculty-student ratio and separate capital grants for world
Fill all vacancies: 20% of all fresh recruitment was to be done by
foreign faculty. By 2010 - atlesat 10% faculty positions were to go to
foreign academics. Special effort were to be made to identify Indian
students doing research in the top 100 institutions of the World.
At least 10% of the total research projects taken up were to be joint
research projects with foreign universities in the top 100 universities
in the World.
Academic leaders teaching in top-100 universities were to be
requested to accept the position of Distinguished International
Professor (DIP). These Professors were to teach a semester in the IIT
for the next 3 years. They were to be compensated as per their current
compensation structure and the cost of travel was to be met by the
Atleast 20% of all M.Tech, Ph.D students were to be offered as
supernumerary positions for foreign students. The current efforts to
conduct GATE overseas were to be intensified and GRE scores were to
be considered for admission.
The teacher-student ratio was to be maintained at 1:7 considering
along with the faculty, the doctoral/post-doctoral students. If
necessary, new teaching positions were to be sanctioned only for these
Advanced to go totally online
From Our Correspondent
MADRAS : The Joint Entrance Exam (JEE-Advanced), the gateway to
prestigious Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), will be conducted
completely online from next year, according to a decision taken
by the Joint Admission Board (JAB), at a meeting held at IIT here on
The development was confirmed by a member
of the JAB. Around 2.2 lakh students were eligible to take the JEE
(Advanced) this year.
Students vying for admission to NITs, IITs and other centrally
funded institutions need to clear the JEE Mains test to qualify for the
The government had earlier introduced the option of taking the JEE
Mains test online, and the JAB has now decided to extend it to the
More than 13 lakh take the Mains test, with less than 10% of them
going online. Of these, two lakh qualify for the Advanced test. Now,
these students will have to take the test online. “The move will ensure
greater transparency and avoid instances of paper leak too,” said a
senior official of the HRD ministry added.
To ensure students do not face any problem in taking the test
online, provision for three-day training will be made where they will be
allowed to take mock tests and operate the system.
Schools will also be advised to provide an opportunity to the students
so that they can use the computers.
Council approves massive seat hike
By Rajiv Shukla
NEW DELHI : Blissfully unmindful of the paucity of faculty and
infrastructure in the new Indian Institutes of Technology, Human
Resource Development Minister Prakash Javadekar pushed through his seat
hike agenda at the 50th IIT Council meeting here on August 23,
The Council, which met under the chairmanship of the minister, decided
to add 10,000 seats per year until 2020. This will be done by adding
4,000 seats in undergraduate courses and 6,000 in postgraduate and Ph.D
courses per annum. The yawning problem of limited hostel accommodation
will be solved by allowing students to stay outside the campus in rented
accommodations, particularly those seeking admissions in PG and Ph.D
courses. At present the IITs admit 10,500 UG students, 8,000 PG students
and 3,000 Ph.D students.
The second important decision is to boost research -- and for this even
B.Tech passouts will be allowed to do a Ph.D, deviating from the
conventional practice of permitting only postgraduates to do doctorate
programmes. Besides, a prime minister’s fellowship of Rs 60,000 a month
for five years will be given to around 1,000 students to do research in
At present, students pursuing M.Tech and Ph.D in IITs after clearing the
Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering (GATE) also get scholarship which
will continue. An M.Tech student gets Rs 12,400 per month while a Ph.D
student gets Rs 25,000 per month for the first two years and Rs 28,000
monthly in the next three years under the existing GATE scholarship.
These scholarships will continue.
Another decision taken by the council is to introduce a IIT-BHU prepared
three-week induction course to allow students to adapt to their new
environment, take up courses on languages and creative arts, and bond
with classmates as well as faculty members. Classes will commence only
after the induction course.
The induction course, to begin with, will
be introduced in seven IITs — Delhi, Bombay, Kanpur, Kharagpur, Madras,
Roorkee and Guwahati.
The IIT Council also approved a pilot run
of a national aptitude test, which will be voluntary in nature and will
not have a bearing on engineering admissions.
The seat hike decision is worrying the IIT directors, and one of them,
expressed angst saying "already the teacher-taught ratio in the IITs
works out to be abysmal 1:15 instead of the desired 1:10, what is going
to happen after the seat hike?" he asked.
When asked by the reporters, Javadekar brushed aside the query by saying
that the IITs would try to fill the posts by attracting Indians with
Ph.Ds working in foreign institutions.
When coaxed for an answer he said his ministry has already launched the
Global Initiative of Academic Network (GIAN) under which foreign faculty
are being invited to Indian campuses to take a few courses; 260 foreign
faculty have already visited in the last one year and another 800 would
come in the next one to two years, Javadekar said.
The council decided to start a Prime Minister's Fellowship to encourage
B.Tech students to pursue Ph.D. The B.Tech graduates from IITs with good
performance will be able to seek direct admission into Ph.D and get the
Prime Minister's Fellowship of Rs 60,000 per month for five years.
The government is planning to put in place an engineering aptitude test
that students of classes 11 and 12 can take up to assess their ability
to excel as engineers beforehand. Once the aptitude test comes into
force, all aspirants will have to take it. The successful students will
be able to take further engineering entrance tests. The council decided
the IITs should conduct a pilot aptitude test in the next one year after
which how to roll it out would be decided.
told to bear interest load on edu loans
By Sanjiv Dube
NEW DELHI : On July 14 the Ministry of Human Resource
Development (MHRD) directed the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) to bear
from their own funds the interest on education loans taken by
undergraduate engineering students.
The MHRD order asked the IIT directors to honour a decision taken in April this year that
guaranteed interest-free loans to students who don't get a fee waiver.
The April decision specified that the
interest-free loan would be given under the Vidya Lakshmi scheme but the
July 14 MHRD directive deviates from the April decision and asks IITs to
bear the interest load, thereby affecting the earnings from the recent
The second deviation from the April
promise is that the interest waiver will not be available to all
students but only to those whose parents earn below Rs 9 lakh per annum.
The April decision had said that
"all students shall have access to interest-free loan under the Vidya
Lakshmi scheme for the total portion of the tuition fee payable".
But the ministry later realised that the scheme had a condition: only
those whose parental income was less than Rs 4.5 lakh a year were
entitled to interest-free loans. The ministry runs a separate Central
Scheme of Interest Subsidy (CSIS) for education loans, which has the
According to a 2014 report on the JEE Advanced, the entrance test IIT
aspirants have to crack, 14.53 per cent of the 27,152 students - or
approximately 4,000 - who qualified for admission had a yearly parental
income between Rs 5 lakh and Rs 8 lakh. Around 13.21 per cent - or
nearly 3,600 - had disclosed a parental income over Rs 8 lakh.
In April, the IITs increased undergraduate engineering fees from Rs
90,000 to Rs 2 lakh a year.
According to an estimate, the interest on a loan of Rs 8 lakh - Rs 2
lakh every year for the four-year undergraduate course - works out to Rs
2.8 lakh. If an IIT pays the interest on behalf of a student, its net
earnings from the fee will go down to Rs 1.3 lakh a year.
The IITs now spend Rs 6 lakh a year on each BTech student.
approves ISM as IIT Dhanbad
By Our Correspondent
NEW DELHI : On May 25 the Union cabinet decided to award IIT status
to Indian School of Mines (ISM) fulfilling the promise made by Prime
Minister Narendra Modi before the general elections in 2014.
The Cabinet meeting chaired by the Prime Minister also gave ex-post
facto approval to six new IITs, two of which, IIT Palakkad and IIT
Tirupati, have already started functioning from last year.
The Cabinet also granted ex-post facto approval for
establishing an NIT in Andhra Pradesh.
The four new IITs will start functioning from this year in Dharwar
(Karnataka), Bhilai (Chhattisgarh), Goa and Jammu. They will offer 120
B.Tech seats each taking the total seats in 23 IITs to 10,500 this year
against 10,000 seats offered in 19 IITs last year.
In his budget speech last year, Union
finance minister Arun Jaitley had announced the new IITs and the
conversion of ISM to IIT. However, an expert panel, set up by the HRD
ministry, was opposed to the conversion, subject to fulfilling a series
The committee, headed by former IIT Bombay chairman Ashok Mishra, had
initially given an adverse report in view of deficiencies. But it was
again asked to suggest ways to upgrade the 90-year-old ISM.
In its second report, submitted last year, the panel highlighted several
lacunae, particularly in the standards of faculty, in many branches and
said that every faculty member at ISM should be evaluated by the same
yardstick as that of established IITs.
Faculty members falling short of the yardsticks should be sent to
institutions like IITs or IISc to be trained and younger faculty without
Ph.D should be asked to complete their thesis from IITs, IISc or any
reputed institutions abroad, the panel had said.
The committee said ISM was good for mining and petroleum
engineering, earth science etc. However, departments like computer
science, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering and chemical
engineering weren't at par with IITs in terms of quality of faculty,
research output, industry-linkage and international exposure.
HRD Ministry sources said that all the concerns of the panel would be
addressed in a time-bound manner.
The institute had appointed 50 faculty members between 2004 and 2008 who
were only M.Tech holders.
The decision to upgrade ISM has spelt both a bane and a boon for the
90-year-old institute. Chairperson D.D. Mishra said IIT status would
prevent the institute to open an off-campus in Visakhapatnam, despite
the Chandrababu Naidu government offering 300 acres of land for the
"There are IITs in every state. One IIT cannot set up a campus in a
state which already has an IIT. ISM as a special type of institution
could have opened the off-campus," Mishra said.
SC/STs & disabled to get 100% fee waiver
By Rajiv Shukla
NEW DELHI : In what may be called a 'rob Peter to pay Paul' policy
the central government has announced a 122 per cent hike in fee for the
Indian Institute Technology (IIT) students and at the same time allowed
total fee waiver for the SC/ST students from next academic year.
The fee hike announcement, made on April 7
would, in effect, make general category students pay for the SC/ST
According to the announcement
the IITs will charge Rs 2 lakh tuition fee per annum for the general
category students enrolling for various undergraduate programmes. This
is a neat hike of Rs 1.10 lakh from the current annual fee of Rs 90,000.
The fee hike will be implemented from the
academic session 2016-17, according to a "Clarification" sent to
Directors of all the IITs on April 13 by R. Subrahmanyam, Additional
Secretary (Technical Education). It said that "the students currently
studying would continue to pay at the existing rates." The
"clarification" was issued soon after the 50th IIT Council
meeting chaired by the HRD Minister Smiriti Irani.
The National Institutes of Technology (NITs) will also almost double
the fee from the new academic year. They will charge Rs 1.25 lakh tuition fee per
annum, up from the present Rs 70,000.
Fee waiver schemes
According to the IIT fee waiver scheme :
A) The SC/ST/Differentlyabled students shall get complete fee waiver.
B) The most economically backward students (whose family income is less
than Rs.1 lakh per annum) shall get full remission of the fee.
C) The other economically backward students (whose family income is
between Rs.1 lakh to Rs.5 lakh per annum) shall get remission of 2/3rd
of the fee.
D) All students shall have access to interest free loan under the ‘Vidya
Lakshmi Scheme’ for the total portion of the tuition fee payable.
Further, all IITs are asked to use the increased student fee for
infrastructure development with the assistance of funds from the Higher
Education Funding Agency (HEFA) so that the
increased fee directly translates into better infrastructure for the
students. As per orders issued, the matter will be placed in next
meeting of the IIT Council for ratification.
In NITs, though students belonging to scheduled caste and scheduled
tribes get fee waiver, it was not clear at this moment as to whether the
NITs will also provide waiver or concession
of fee to non-reserved category students belonging to BPL and low income
group as approved for the IITs. A standing committee of the IITs had, in
its recent report, recommended
increase in the tuition fee of the premier technical institutes from the
current Rs 90,000 to Rs 3 lakh per semester.
The decision to hike the fee has been taken by the ministry following a
proposal by a high-level IIT panel.
The panel, headed by IIT Roorkee chairman Ashok Misra, met last month
and approved a proposal for a three-fold increase in tuition fee from
the present Rs 90,000 to Rs 3 lakh per annum
from the next academic session. A proposal for three-fold increase in
tuition fee was first introduced before the standing committee at its
meeting in Mumbai in October last, but it was
referred to an expert committee comprising IIT directors.
The IITs are autonomous public institutes of higher education. The 23
IITs are located in following cities: Bhilai, Chennai, Delhi, Dhanbad,
Dharwad, Goa, Guwahati, Jammu, Kanpur,
Kharagpur, Mumbai, Roorkee, Bhubaneswar, Gandhinagar, Hyderabad, Indore,
Jodhpur, Mandi, Palakkad, Patna, Ropar, Tirupati and Varanasi.
The report of the Committee on funding of IITs and the recommendations
of SCIC for revision of annual fee in IITs to Rs.3 lakhs per year from
the current Rs.90000 has been examined.
The rationale for the SCIC recommendation arises from the fact that the
cost of maintenance of the IITs is to be met largely from the student
fee. On an average, the Government is
spending about Rs 6 lakh per year on each student in the IITs.
dons create no interest for learning : study
MUMBAI : Most IIT Bombay professor have failed to infuse
interest for studies among the students, says a study published in the
students' magazine called Insight.
The study published in the April issue of the quarterly magazine (Vol
15 Issue 3) says that about 88 per cent IIT Bombay do
not study as their professors do not manage to generate interest in
While a few teachers are enthusiastic about teaching, others are not,
reveals the survey published in the magazine. Fed up with criticism
about their “poor performance” compared to previous batches, a group of
IITians from the current batch had conducted a survey on the campus.
The first part of the survey focusing on why students don’t study at IIT-B,
published in the January issue, had revealed that if not put on a
deadline for an assignment, 75% students do not spend any time on
academics. While more than 75% IITians seem to be more interested in
pursuing hobbies, many are hooked on to social networking and micro-blogging
The second part of the survey, published in the April issue, focuses on
issues concerning the teaching and learning process in the institute. In
this report, students have included reactions from professors, and also
made a few observations.
At least 72 per cent students believe the course content is theoretical,
lacks in application and therefore, is not interesting. Many IITians
have sought a return to blackboard teaching as they believe that showing
slides does not ensure value-addition from the teachers.
The study says that teachers have cited large classes as one of the
reasons for “inefficient teaching”. “With a shortage of faculty, the
surge in number of students has not given enough time to the teachers
and for the infrastructure to evolve,” says the report.
Professors claim that they have to perform two jobs —teach and research.
“It is not hard to see why it is possible that research could be more
interesting and teaching could be relegated to being one of the
unpleasant aspects of the job for many professors,” says the report.
“Unfortunately, both teaching and research are fulltime jobs. Increased
focus on one would impact the other,” says a teacher in the report.
Also, 75 per cent of the students feel they can get a decent grade even
by studying a night before the exam, which reflects badly on the
standards of learning process.
Devang Khakhar, IIT-B director, says, “We are constantly working on
improving the teaching and learning standards. The senate committee has
proposed to set up a centre for effective teaching and learning. The
institute is also making efforts to build new lecture halls to reduce
the class size, and, thus increase interaction between teachers and