Govt may spend over Rs20,000 crore on six new IITs

The central government is looking to spend above an amount of Rs 20,000 crore to build six new Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) it first announced in 2015, at least two government officials said.

Of this, Rs7,000 crore will be spent in the first phase ending in March 2020 and the rest over the next four years ending in March 2024, the officials said on condition of anonymity.

IIT Kharagpur, Main Building, Kharagpur, West Bengal

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New IITs incur less expense in the first couple of years as they operate from temporary premises with limited staff, research work, course and students. The union human resource development ministry, the officials said, is in the process of moving the expenditure finance committee (EFC) to get approval for the first phase. After this, it will ask the EFC to approve the rest.

In December 2015, the Union cabinet cleared the proposal to open six new IITs in Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Karnataka, Chhattisgarh, Goa and Jammu and Kashmir. The six IITs now operate from makeshift campuses in these states.

“Unlike institutions like IIMs, IITs need much more funds to be established because of the multi-disciplinary and research nature of the IITs. Hopefully, the EFC will give a go-ahead following which new IITs will scale up their operation—both from academic and infrastructure points of view,” said one of the two officials cited above.

During the 11th Five Year Plan, which ended in march 2012, the previous UPA government had estimated to spend over Rs6,000 crore for eight new IITs. But delays in land procurement, construction and inflation pushed up costs to Rs14,000 crore.

The additional money was approved following months of deliberations after the NDA government came to power in 2014. The eight IITs are now open in Gandhinagar, Bhubaneswar, Hyderabad, Indore, Jodhpur, Ropar, Mandi and Patna. “This time, we are trying our best not to face cost escalation. It was a problem last time and we have learned from that experience,” said the second of the two officials. This official said land procurement was a key challenge last time, delaying construction and pushing up costs.

“Land for six new IITs has already been procured and states’ cooperation this time is good. Once the EFC approval comes, things will pick up,” the official said.

A professor from an older IIT closely associated with the establishment of new IITs said timely funding is key, and before that, states must give land to the HRD ministry for the purpose. The last time, he said some states could not provide land even after five years. Besides, in some cases, land was allocated without forest clearances leading to legal hassles, the professor said.

“Cost escalation problem arises when it’s not planned properly. While delays in construction and land procurement leads to more expense, it also hampers the IITs educationally. An IIT has its own brand value but it has to be properly supported; else, that brand equity gets hampered.

The upcoming new education policy must make it clear that new higher educational institutions should not be delayed beyond a certain time limit. Else, the intention of establishing IITs and similar institutes gets diluted. It’s not just a finance issue, but also a bigger academic issue,” said Narayan Ramaswamy, partner education practice at consulting firm KPMG.

DU admissions: 15,000 seats on offer in fourth cutoff list, check details here

Delhi University will start the admission process for the remaining 15,000 seats under the fourth cutoff list from Thursday with admission to honours courses such as Economics, English and BCom being closed at many popular colleges.

The cutoff has dropped by up to 5% points in popular courses and some colleges have reopened admissions in courses such as History, Economics, English and Political Science.

Commerce and Economics

Economics was closed for admission at 14 colleges, including Kirori Mal College (KMC), Kamla Nehru College (KNC), Lady Shri Ram (LSR), Miranda House, Sri Venkateswara, and SGTB Khalsa.

But 23 colleges, including Hindu, Hans Raj and Ramjas will continue with admission for Economics.

Four colleges, including Shyama Prasad Mukherji and PGDAV have reopened admissions in the course after withdrawals.

BCom is closed for admission at 15 colleges, including Hans Raj, Hindu, KMC, and LSR. But at 39 colleges, including Ramjas, Sri Venkateswara, and Indraprastha College for Women, admissions in the course will continue. Kalindi College has reopened admission to BCom at 92%.

Shri Ram College of Commerce had closed admission for both the courses by the second cutoff list.

Humanities

Admission to English has been closed at 11 colleges including Hansraj, Hindu, KNC, KMC, and Sri Venkateswara. But admission is open at 35 colleges including LSR, Miranda House, and Ramjas. Cutoff for English has dropped by up to two percentage points.

Gargi College and Satyawati Evening College has reopened the course for admissions under the fourth list.

Around 18 colleges including Gargi, Hindu, KNC and Miranda House have closed admission to History. But 22 colleges including KMC, Hansraj, Ramjas and Sri Venkateswara will continue with admission in the course.

The course has seen a drop of up to 3% points and it has reopened for admission at colleges such as Daulat Ram College and LSR.

Admission to Political Science is over at 28 colleges including Hindu, KMC, LSR, and Miranda House. But at 25 colleges including Ramjas and Sri Venkateswara, the admissions will continue. KNC has reopened admission in the course.

Some colleges such as Gargi have reopened it for admission for BA programme.

Sciences

The cutoff for Chemistry, which is open for admission at 12 colleges, has dropped by up to 1% point, with highest dips at Dyal Singh College and Zakir Husain Delhi College. Hans Raj College has maintained their cutoff at 95.66%, same as third list.

The highest dip for Mathematics, which is available for admission at 22 colleges, was at Lakshmibai College, where it dropped by 1.25% points from 93.5%. It has re-opened for admission at six colleges including Kalindi, ARSD, and Dyal Singh College.

The cutoff for Physics dropped by two percentage points and it has re-opened for admissions in two colleges including Kalindi.

The non-collegiate women’s education board (NCWEB) also released its third cutoff list on Wednesday. The lowest cutoff for BA Programme and BCom was at Aditi Mahavidyalaya at 68% and 76% respectively.

The highest cutoff for both the courses was at Miranda House at 86% . Admissions are on at all 26 NCWEB centers.

Female applicants from Delhi NCT were supposed to be automatically eligible for NCWEB seats, however, some students had inadvertently unchecked NCWEB as an option.

As a relief to these students, the DU has now said that all female students who have applied for BA Programme and BCom courses for regular colleges will be considered for admission to NCWEB.