Unpopular courses at the IITs and NITs should either be discontinued or have their seats reduced, and a penalty should be imposed on candidates for not joining their course, a committee set up to suggest measures to bring down vacant seats in the premier engineering schools has said in its report to the government. The HRD Ministry had constituted a three-member panel headed by IIT-Kharagpur Director Partha Pratim Chakraborty three months ago, after almost 3,000 seats fell vacant last year despite six rounds of joint counselling for the IITs, NITs and centrally funded technical institutions. Of these, 73 seats were lying vacant at the IITs and 1,518 at the NITs.
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According to sources in the HRD Ministry, the recommendations of the committee will be placed before the IIT Council and NIT Council for consideration and approval.
The report, accessed by The Indian Express, states that all the institutes participating in 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.” Further, the report suggests new courses should only be introduced after a “proper requirement analysis”.
The panel has also recommended that the institutions impose a penalty — at least 50 per cent of the seat acceptance fees — on applicants for late withdrawal or not joining after the academic session begins to bring down seat vacancies. This penalty was dropped last year, which the IITs felt encouraged many students to block seats and not join the institutes later.
The committee is also in favour of allowing the NITs to convert state quota seats to general seats in case they fall vacant despite repeated rounds of counselling. Currently, all NITs reserve at least 50 per cent seats for candidates from home state.
Over 1,500 seats fell vacant across 31 NITs with even sought-after institutions such as the NIT Surat and NIT Jalandhar having 115 and 110 vacancies, respectively. According to ministry sources, seats at NITs in the northeastern states usually fall vacant because the state quota remains underutilised.
Further, the panel felt that since that the JEE (Main) rank is no longer calculated on the basis of Class XII marks, the joint seat allocation can start earlier. “The process may be completed early to enable the first year students to join at least two weeks early. The first year students will join early for a two-week induction programme,” the report states.
“Based on actual vacancies found on joining and an analysis that there are seats vacant which students may have wanted but did not get (based on their original choices), a fresh allocation round may be completed within a week, which may include fresh registration of current and new interested students. This may be completed before classes start,” the panel said in the report.