The HRD Ministry is likely to call a meeting of the IIT Council in the last week of April to review the tuition fee hike introduced last year.
Sources said that the Council, which is the apex coordination body for all 23 IITs, is expected to meet on April 29. In this meeting, members will deliberate on the IIT directors’ plea to reconsider the large number of concessions introduced for special category students last year along with the announcement to increase the annual fee from Rs 90,000 to Rs 2 lakh per year.
That apart, the Council may also discuss the Kakodkar Committee recommendation regarding reimbursement of 50 per cent of the tuition fee to selected female students to increase the proportion of girls studying in IITs.
On April 8, 2016, the HRD Ministry, under Smriti Irani’s leadership, had agreed to a two-fold hike in tuition fee on the condition that students belonging to the Scheduled Caste, Scheduled Tribe and physically challenged category as also candidates whose annual family income is less than Rs 1 lakh are entitled to a complete fee waiver. Further, students whose family income is between Rs 1 lakh and Rs 5 lakh a year were expected to pay just one-third of the fee and the remaining would have access to interest-fee loans.
The above concessions, IIT directors feel, defeat the purpose of the fee hike and will instead lead to a fall in revenue. Their concerns were first raised during the IIT Council meeting called by Irani’s successor, Prakash Javadekar, in August last year. This matter was again discussed at the meeting of IIT directors in Bhubaneswar and Kanpur on September 11 and December 12, respectively, last year.
At the Kanpur meeting, the IITs collectively proposed that the fee exemption be replaced with reimbursement — either the HRD Ministry or the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment should reimburse the IITs for the cost of educating students entitled to complete fee waiver. For the economically backward sections, the directors recommended that students from these categories should be given interest-free loans instead of full or partial waiver.
According to ministry sources, this proposal will be among the main agenda items of the IIT Council meeting on April 29.
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