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Vacant seats at IITs, NITs: Government nod to scrapping of unpopular courses

The HRD ministry held a meeting on February 3 to deliberate on the report submitted by the three-member panel headed by IIT-Kharagpur director.

Written by Ritika Chopra | New Delhi |
February 13, 2017 2:14:47 am
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The HRD Ministry is learnt to have accepted the recommendations for IITs and NITs to scrap unpopular courses, conduct special rounds of counselling permitting candidates to register afresh, and impose penalty on students who do not join their chosen course, to address the problem of vacant seats.

However, the government rejected the proposal to allow the NITs to convert the state quota seats to general category in case they fall vacant despite repeated rounds of counselling. Currently, all NITs reserve at least 50 per cent seats for candidates from the home state.

These decisions, however, need the final stamp of approval from the Joint Admission Board and Joint Seat Allocation Authorty.

The ministry held a meeting on February 3 to deliberate on the report submitted by the three-member panel headed by IIT-Kharagpur director, which was set up to suggest measures to bring down vacant seats in the premier engineering schools. Last year, almost 3,000 seats across 23 IITs, 32 NITs and some centrally-funded technical institutions didn’t find takers despite six rounds of joint counselling. Of these, 73 seats were vacant at the IITs and 1,518 at the NITs.

As first reported by The Indian Express on January 2, the panel had proposed that all the institutes participating in the joint seat allocation process may, after a thorough review of vacancies, employment opportunity, infrastructure requirement across different courses, revise the number of seats in each course and “if needed, some disciplines may be closed down and new areas introduced”. Agreeing with the recommendation, the ministry also decided that the institutes should also reduce the total number of seats according to their hostel facility, laboratory infrastructure, classrooms and faculty.

“The senate of each institute should conduct meetings in this regard as soon as possible and carry out this exercise latest by 31st March, 2017,” the minutes of the meeting held on February 3 state.

As for the panel’s suggestion to introduce penalty on students for not taking up the allotted seat, the ministry decided that the IITs and NITs will conduct a total of six rounds of which first four will be treated as normal rounds with an option of withdrawal and the last two will be special rounds. The first four rounds should finish before July 25 and in the fifth and sixth rounds all candidates will be allowed to register afresh (read: fill their seat choices afresh). However, those who do not join the course allotted during the special rounds stand to lose a big chunk of their admission fee.

The three-member committee had also recommended that some of the premiere Institutions like BITs (Pilani, Hyderabad, Goa), NSIT – Delhi, DTU and Amrita University, among others may also be invited to join the joint counselling process. The ministry decided that the University Grants Commission should examine its rules and regulations to facilitate their participation.

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