Friday, April 22, 2011

Government panel rejects IIIT state quotas

A Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) appointed committee has rejected a key demand from different states to have domicile based reservation in the 20 new Indian Institutes of Information Technology (IIITs) to be rolled out from next year.

T. V. Mohandas Pai, who heads the expert committee to recommend criteria for selection of industry partners as well as proposals from states to set up 20 IIITs in public-private partnership (PPP) mode, has not favoured the system of having state quota or giving preferential treatment to the state students in admissions to the top institutes.

During a workshop convened by the MHRD last month, Pai clarified that the system followed by National Institutes of Technology (NITs) — of setting aside 50% of seats for state students — would not be followed in the case of the new IIITs. Some states have made a vehement pitch for local quota, saying they were contributing more than half the amount to set up these institutes in the form of land. The minutes of the meeting — accessed by TOI — shows Pai clarifying that the scheme, in its present form, did not provide for such an arrangement (of having state quota).

Each of the new IIITs are being set up with capital cost contribution of Rs. 120 crore (Rs. 1.2 billion) in the ratio of 50:35:15 by the Centre, state and industry respectively. In addition, state governments should offer 50-100 acres of contiguous land for free, and identify industry partners.

The proposed IIITs, which will be set up in phases over a nine-year period starting 2011, will admit students through a national-level entrance test, like the All-India Engineering Entrance Exam. The existing IIITs, like the ones in Bangalore, Hyderabad, Delhi and Bhubaneshwar, will mentor the new ones. IIITs, which will be declared institutes of national importance, will be specialising in application of IT skills in one or more domain areas relevant to the state where they will come up.

The draft outline of the Pai committee to select industry partners shows that the participating companies should be at least five-year-old and should make a minimum contribution of Rs. 2 crore (Rs. 20 million). The industry partners will allow employees to go on a sabbatical to teach at the institutes, and students from these institutes would also be allowed to intern or collaborate in research. The intellectual property will jointly be held by the company as well as the institute.

Source: The Times of India, April 22, 2011

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