With the NDA government having announced an IIT and IIM in each state, it has not just taken a step towards fulfilling its poll promise, it has also effected a major reversal of UPA II’s policy issue.
Having learnt its lessons with the setting up of eight IITs at one go in 2009, besides 14 new Central Universities and six new IIMs, the UPA II government rigidly resisted any proposal to set up more new institutions. The Planning Commission had categorically rejected the idea and was on the same page with the Finance Ministry on the issue. And with good reason.
Setting up a single IIT costs a good Rs 1,750 crore. If the new government’s promise of an IIT and IIM in each state is taken as it is, four states — Sikkim, J&K, Andhra Pradesh and Goa — will be eligible to get both institutes, seven states will get an IIM each — Bihar, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Maharashtra, Telangana, Orissa and Delhi. An IIT will have to be set up in Haryana, Kerala, Jharkhand, Karnataka and Kerala. It is still not clear if the government aims at setting up a new IIT and IIM in all the Northeast states as well.
Setting up a new IIM could also cost anywhere near Rs 1,000 crore. That apart, just maintaining the existing IITs will cost Rs 9,000 crore in the next five years.
While ensuring funding for setting up these institutes is one issue, another is ensuring required faculty to run them.
Consider this: across the existing IITs, 38 per cent faculty posts are vacant. As per the HRD Ministry’s submission to Parliament in February, against 6,591 existing faculty positions across the 15 IITs, only 4,079 faculty positions are filled.
Of the new IITs that came up in 2009 in Patna, Mandi, Jodhpur, Bhubaneshwar, Ropar, Hyderabad, Indore and Gandhinagar, only IIT Mandi has its own campus while the rest are still using temporary campuses.
J&K CM Omar Abdullah — whose state could both an IIT and IIM — called the announcement a ‘terrible idea’. “IITs & IIMs in every state is a terrible idea and will dilute these institutions. How about just making existing ones truly world class,” he tweeted.
An eminent educationist said: “This whole idea of just setting up more new IITs is misplaced when issues of land acquisition, setting up of campuses, location and faculty are yet to be sorted out for the IITs set up five years ago.”