THE INDIAN Institutes of Technology (IITs) Thursday released an extended merit list with another 13,842 qualified candidates for JEE-Advanced after the government issued an unprecedented late-night directive Wednesday.
The HRD Ministry ordered IIT Kanpur, the organising institute for JEE-Advanced this year, to release “a list of candidates, twice the number of seats in each discipline and category… strictly as per merit, prior to starting the choice filling through JoSAA.”
The Joint Admission Board (JAB) of the IITs held an emergency meeting Thursday, following which IIT Kanpur added another 8,954 general candidates, 3,824 OBC candidates, 771 SCs and 293 from ST category to the merit list. Overall, now 31,980 candidates are on the merit list, as opposed to the first list released on June 10, which had 18,138.
In order to expand the pool of qualified candidates, the IIT-JAB agreed to dilute the cutoff for the aggregate score by 10% points — from 35% to 25%. However, the minimum marks to be scored in each subject have not been tweaked. “This ensured that the IITs do not compromise on merit and all qualified candidates have the basic aptitude that the institutes expect of their students,” said Aditya Mittal, chairman of JEE-Advanced at IIT Delhi.
“Moreover, by only lowering the overall cutoff, the ranks of the first merit list remain unchanged,” he said.
This is the first time that the cut-off marks have been revised after the declaration of results. The unprecedented decision was taken in wake of concerns that the merit list this year did not have enough students to fill all 11,279 seats.
In 2015, IIT-Mumbai, the organising institute for JEE-Advanced that year, had lowered the bar after evaluation as an adequate number of aspirants failed to make the cut. But this was done before the declaration of results.
On June 11, The Indian Express had reported that since 2013, when IIT-JEE was renamed JEE-Advanced and the eligibility criteria for the entrance test was tweaked, the number of candidates who qualified has always been at least twice the number of seats on offer. This year, however, the 18,138 students on the merit list are only 1.6 times the total seats, making it the smallest list of qualified candidates since 2012.
IIT-JAB’s first emergency meeting was held Wednesday, which was called after a few institutes expressed concerns over the number of students on the merit. Although JAB in the first meeting resolved to not lower cutoffs, the government’s decision to intervene was influenced by the fact that the number of OBC candidates on the merit list was less than the number of seats reserved for them.
“It was pretty evident that the OBC seats would have fallen vacant and they would have eventually been converted into general seats. It’s government policy that all reserved category seats should be filled. The first merit list would have compromised that,” said sources.
According to sources, the IITs agreed to follow the government’s directive as there was a split within their community. The newer IITs along with one old IIT were in favour of lowering cutoffs, The Indian Express has learnt.
With the government directing the IITs to release an extended merit list, the institutes will have to conduct the Architecture Aptitude Test (AAT) again — on June 17 — for the additional candidates. AAT is the entrance test for aspirants who want admission to the architecture programmes in IIT Roorkee and IIT Kharagpur. The test based on the first merit list was conducted Thursday.