When prominent alumni of the existing seven Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) were drawing up a blueprint to set up a new IIT, the government itself had announced plans for new IITs in the coming years to bridge existing gaps in technical education. Prime Minister of India Dr. Manmohan Singh in August this year unveiled a plan to set up eight IITs for a revolution in the field of present education system. The IIT mission would therefore be in line with that long-term objective of central government.
Higher education in India got a big boost with eight new IITs to be set up at a total cost of Rs.60.80 billion ($1.5 billion). New IITs had been approved in Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Punjab, and Rajasthan. Among them, six IITs have already started their academic sessions this year, while the other two – approved in Himachal Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh – are expected to start operations from the 2009-10 academic years. To ensure that the IITs function properly, the government has sanctioned 30 faculty posts per year for each new IIT. It has also specifically approved the post of a Director in each of these IITs in the grade of Rs. 26,000 (fixed) and a post of Registrar in the grade of Rs.16,400 -22,400 for each new IIT. The Cabinet has also decided to raise the grade of all existing seven IIT Directors from Rs. 25,000 to Rs. 26,000 (fixed).
Three existing IITs – Guwahati, Madras and Delhi – have been made mentor institutions for the education institutes at Patna, Medak and Rajasthan respectively. Technical faculty from the Guwahati and Madras IITs are deployed to teach at makeshift campuses at Patna and Medak. IIT Rajasthan doesn’t even have a makeshift campus, and has started functioning from its mentor’s campus at IIT Delhi.
With 6 new IITs functioning this year, overseas expansion of IITs is put on hold. The HRD ministry has said that Syria’s vision of an IIT in its capital will have to wait for some time. There are mixed responses from experts on these new IITs. Prime Minister’s initiative to establish eight new IITs has drawn flak from his scientific adviser CNR Rao, who said that the opening of so many IITs is going to be a disaster. Even prominent alumni of IITs are concerned about IIT brand value. They raise questions about operations of new IITs. The one problem which bothers all new IIT directors is that of finding quality teaching staff.
As per the government, the creation of new IITs will enable provision of high quality Indian education for more students. It would also address state and region specific technology related problems of states and UTs situated in the IITs’ Zones. Prominent IIT Prof. Joshi said the new IITs have created opportunities. Recently in a meeting at Patna he said, a number of brilliant students who might have not made it due to limited number of seats will now be able to join in IITs. Putting aside initial problems and operational difficulties, these institutes are expected to address high quality manpower requirements of Indian industry.