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Explained: Director’s choice

Whys and hows of the selection of IIT directors, and the current controversy explained.

Written by Ruhi Tewari | New Delhi |
March 27, 2015 3:09:46 am
IIT Director selection panel, Indian Institute of Technology, IIT Bombay, IITs directors, IIT selection panel, IIT Anil Kakodkar, Anil Kakodkar,  Smriti Irani,  Human Resource Development Ministry, HRD Minister Smriti Irani, Smriti Irani HRD, Smriti Irani IITs committee, IIT-B board, india news, nation news IIT-Bombya. A list of around five-six shortlisted candidates is made, who are then interviewed by the panel, which included the HRD Minister.

Ruhi Tewari explains the whys and hows of the selection of IIT directors, and the current controversy

Directors for which IITs are being currently picked?
The process is on to select directors for IITs at Patna, Bhubaneswar and Ropar. The chairman of the Board of Governors of IIT Bombay, Anil Kakodkar, resigned on March 12 following “disagreement” over the selection of the  director for IIT Ropar.

What is the controversy about?
The search-cum-selection committees for the three directors’ posts had nearly reached a consensus on the choices for IIT Patna and IIT Bhubaneswar, but there was no agreement on the director for IIT Ropar. Sources say HRD Minister Smriti Irani then suggested a name, which was not in the top five shortlisted by the panel. Several members objected, and subsequently, the ministry cancelled the process involving the 12 shortlisted candidates for the three IITs, and said that all 37 in the original list be called for interviews on March 22.

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How did Kakodkar get into the picture?
Kakodkar is a member of the search-cum-selection committees to select directors for the three IITs. Although the Ministry said he had agreed to withdraw his resignation, Kakodkar chose to skip the interviews held on March 22. The candidates, however, were chosen nevertheless, and the names were sent to the President of India.

What is the process for selection of IIT directors?
To begin with, there is a rigorous evaluation of the performance of the incumbent director. If adjudged outstanding by the selection committee, he or she is recommended for a second term. If not, the post is advertised. The search-cum-selection panel then shortlists candidates based on their CVs, and any other methodology or criteria it may choose to pick. A list of around five-six (there is no fixed figure) shortlisted candidates is made, who are then interviewed by the panel, which included the HRD Minister. A candidate is picked. The name is then sent to the President, who appoints the director. In the present case, since the selection was for three IITs, as many as 37 names were shortlisted.

Is there a separate panel to pick each IIT director?
Yes. The HRD Minister is the chairperson of every panel. Kakodkar is in the panels to select the directors for all three IITs — Bhubaneswar, Patna and Ropar.

Who are in the search-cum-selection committees?
Besides the HRD Minister, two persons chosen by the Standing Committee of the IIT Council (SCIC), the head of the SCIC, the Chairman of the Board of Governors of the IIT concerned, and two senior representatives of the HRD Ministry. Kakodkar is the head of the SCIC.

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