Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs)

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Sep 19, 2021: The Times of India

TOI clipping, August 19, 1951
From: Sep 19, 2021: The Times of India
TOI clipping, March 14, 1952
From: Sep 19, 2021: The Times of India

How IITs became heart of India’s growth story over past 70 years

The IITs are key to India’s rise as a knowledge economy. Today, they produce more engineering masters and doctorates than graduates. By some accounts, IIT alumni have the power to influence $10 trillion of the global economy. Hemali Chhapia and Yogita Rao trace the IIT story from its modest beginnings in the 1950s

Classes at the first Indian Institute of Technology in Kharagpur started 70 years ago, in 1951, but the underlying idea for a top-notch engineering college in India had been floated in British times. Ardeshir Dalal from the Viceroy’s Executive Council put it down in a note foreseeing the future prosperity of India depended on technology. Soon after WW-II, the Nalini Ranjan Sarkar committee recommended setting up technical institutes, in its interim report submitted in 1946.

After Independence, Jawaharlal Nehru pushed for the establishment of the Indian Institutes of Technology, which “would over time provide scientists and technologists of the highest calibre who would engage in research, design and development to help build the nation towards self-reliance in her technological needs.” The first IIT came up in Kharagpur at the site of the Hijli Detention Camp, in 1951.

Cultivating minds

Finding highly qualified engineering teachers was difficult in a country rising up after years of colonial oppression. Padma Shri awardee professor Deepak Phatak recalls: “I was appointed after my masters and faced the wrath of senior peers who said, ‘anpadh log padha rahe hain (illiterates are teaching)’.” Phatak’s not possessing a doctorate rendered him ineligible in their eyes.

In the 1960s, faculty from several foreign universities also taught at the IITs. IIT-K archives speak of professor Harry Huskey of UC Berkeley who stoked interest in computers and took an international workshop on computation in 1964. There is a picture of professor Clay Perry of UCSD on an elephant excursion, as well as photos of the American faculty committee visiting Khajuraho.

Phatak painstakingly completed his PhD while teaching. “There were few PhD holders in the country. Earlier, several faculty members travelled to partner nations to pursue their PhD and returned to teach.” He says the government had to look for foreign partners because “it was soon realised that the setting up (of institutes) was too costly.”

The erstwhile USSR was the first to offer help, and IIT Bombay was set up with its assistance in 1958. The US and Germany helped set up the IITs in Kanpur and Chennai, respectively, in 1959. IIT Delhi, built with British help in 1961, was the last of the first-generation IITs. Today, there are 23 IITs, including second-generation (older than 10 years) and third-generation (from 2015/16) institutes.

From teaching to research

Undergraduate teaching colleges once, the IITs are now deeply into research. More graduates today pursue a master’s on campus, instead of going abroad for higher studies. In 2006, merely 21 of 3,989 graduates flew out. “Many came back with higher order skills. Even those abroad have connected back with India,” says former IIT-Bombay director Ashok Misra. In 2015, the seven old IIT campuses (Roorkee & Guwahati alongside the first-gen five) graduated a total of 6,002 undergraduate students, 6,168 master’s and 1,902 PhD candidates.

It’s a far cry from the 1980s when politicians lamented the “brain drain” from these institutes to foreign countries, and graduates responded with the wisecrack: “brain drain is better than brain in the drain”.

What’s still lacking on the research front, though, is industry collaboration. “Unfortunately, in India, academic-industry collaboration never picked up. We wrote proposals, went to a ministry, defended them, carried out research and published a paper, but no one applied that research. We were inventing our problem. I categorise all our research as solutions looking for a problem,” says IIT Delhi director V Ramgopal Rao.

That could change with the proposed National Research Foundation, which will push ministries to submit their problems and provide funds for related research. Changes in CSR rules also allow industry to invest in the IITs. Internally, the institutes have mooted the idea of an industry fair. Tech parks have been set up on campus and the institutes are moving towards allowing faculty to launch startups. The IITs have also contributed to indigenous technologies for the navy, DRDO and Isro.

Tuition fee up 400 times

The annual undergraduate fee at the IITs used to be Rs 500. It’s been revised only thrice: in 1998, 2008 and 2016. In 2008, the fee was doubled from Rs 25,000 to Rs 50,000; it’s now Rs 2 lakh. But IIT director V Ramgopal Rao says, “Student fees make up only 7% of our revenue; 93% of IIT education is subsidised.”

No Kota rush for JEE

IIT aspirants today spend 2-4 years being coached to crack the all-important JEE, but in the 1960s most students relied on self-study. Juzer Vasi, professor emeritus at IIT-Bombay, recollects spending a couple of weeks preparing for the 1964 common test. “We just revised our school syllabus and looked up some topics recommended by the IIT.” From being a subjective paper to an objective one, and now a two-level test, the JEE has come a long way.

Slow rise of quotas

In 1972, a committee recommended reservation for SC/ST candidates, and the OBC quota was implemented in 2008 despite opposition from students. Indranil Manna, former IIT-Kanpur director, says the IITs introduced extra seats to keep the ratio between reserved and unreserved seats intact. To implement the 27% OBC quota, they increased intake by 54% in a staggered manner. “It was a tough time for all IITs, as our classrooms, laboratories, and hostels were not large enough to accommodate these numbers,” says Manna.

Crorepati placements

The 2000s saw graduates walk out with crore-plus packages. Although only a handful got such offers, they caused quite a stir. Over the years, the placement process at the IITs has also become streamlined. Earlier, companies recruited throughout the year, and there was an imbalance between the profiles and packages offered to students from different institutes. But in the early-2000s they set up the All-IITs Placement Committee and decided to have a common Day One across the board, says Anishya Madan, head, office of career services, IIT-Delhi.

A unicorn mill

Chetan Bhagat, Sep 19, 2021: The Times of India

Even though my claim to fame is a book (and subsequently a movie) about what is wrong at the IITs, fact remains I am deeply in love with my alma mater. While the IITs are by no means perfect, they remain one of the true symbols of Indian excellence even today. We have all seen the news articles: record salaries, record valuations of startups created by IITians, and prominent CEOs worldwide coming from this institution. Some reports suggest the IITs rank 4th among colleges worldwide whose alumni have founded unicorns (companies with $1bnplus valuations). Only Stanford, Harvard, and University of California are ranked higher.

The stated purpose of the IITs was different, and the planning for it had begun even before Independence. When the first IIT was opened in Kharagpur, West Bengal, the reasons were part visionary, part political. PM Nehru wanted an Indian institution to create technology professionals. With Soviet help, and with the logic of being in Bengal because several mining and manufacturing companies were located there, IIT Kharagpur was opened at the site of a detention camp. Who would have thought this initiative would one day help create Zomato, Flipkart, Ola, Policybazaar and many other companies that are household names in India today!

More IITs followed at Mumbai (1958), Chennai (1959), Kanpur (1959) and Delhi (1961). The idea was to give each region – North, South, East, West and Central India – an IIT. More IITs have opened since (there are 23 in all at present), and the brand remains impeccable in terms of what it can do to your resume if you are lucky enough to study there.

There are half-a-dozen unicorns from IIT Delhi alone, where I studied. My sense of inadequacy at being unable to do what some of my college mates have done apart, this is a major source of pride for all Indians. It shows how special the institutes are, which have stood tall for more than seven decades and yet are at the cutting edge of innovation. Even those IITians who haven’t created famous unicorns go on to contribute in whatever job or career they pursue, and reach pinnacle positions in their careers.

From tech and banking to top IAS officers, IITians are making their mark everywhere. Most large-cap companies in India will have IITians in their top management. There have been IITian researchers and academicians. There have also been IIT politicians, Union ministers, RBI governors and top police officers. Yes, some IITians even become writers.

How did this happen? Perhaps by design, or partly by chance, the IITs were incentivised to pursue excellence and continue to do so until today. Sure, there’s some politics, but it’s much less than you find in other places. From the selection of the students to the dedication of the professors, to the housekeeping staff that keeps the campus clean – there is a pride in the institution and relentless pursuit of doing things well.

In India, we sometimes ignore or even punish excellence. For we are a democracy, and democracy means inclusion. However, excellence often demands some exclusivity. Excellence means rewarding the best and those who strive to get better. The IITs have been fortunate to be allowed to pursue that exclusivity. And the results are for all to see. As free India turns 75, we need to not only be proud of the IITs, but also learn the broader message – that when you pursue and reward excellence, you create something beautiful.

Admissions, admission criteria

2017: IIT-B top pick, Del 2nd for JEE toppers

Hemali Chhapia|IIT-B top pick, Del 2nd for JEE toppers|Jul 28 2017 : The Times of India (Delhi)

IIT-Bombay is the hot favourite among the brightest engineering aspirants this year again with 65 of the top 100 JEE rankers opting for the Powai-based institute. Most of them have joined the institute to pursue computer science.Like in the past few years, IITDelhi is the clear second, with 31of the top 100 joining it.

“I think students are coming here because of the perception that it is the best institute. In all the rankings, we are pretty high on the student perception level,“ said IIT-Bombay director Devang Khakhar.

This is a change from two decades ago, when IIT-Kharagpur was considered the mecca of engineering educa tion in India and getting into IIT-Madras or Kanpur ensured demi-god status. “While IIT-Bombay and Delhi were still building themselves, Kharagpur's students occupied top positions in big firms,“ said a former JEE chairman. This year, each of the three old institutes have got only got 50odd students from the top 500, while IIT-Bombay got 201 and Delhi 137 students.Experts say a number of factors has been responsible for the reordering -from geography to gastronomy and from placement records to what coaching classes preach to their students.

While IIT-Bombay has been bettering its performance over the years, Madras is slipping. “Some say the food on the Madras campus is not as good as in Bombay or Delhi. But we get some of the finest students,“ said a dean from IIT-Madras.

Interestingly, four students from the top 100, 53 from the first 500 and 123 from the top 1,000 are from other categories and some of them did not use the quota to join the IITs, said a JEE chairman. Younger IITs that used to open admissions post the 1000th rank have students with higher ranks opting for admissions. For instance, IIT-Hyderabad (23 in top 1,000) and Indore (3) were among the top picks.


“We have brought about a lot of academic innova tions,“ said IIT-Hyderabad director U B Desai. “We have changed the academic structure. We have adopted the fractal method, wherein we have broken up the first semester into small modules with the latest development in engineering.“ For instance, electrical engineering has a course on 3D printing and also on the Internet of Things. “We are moving to a time when students can design their own curriculum,“ added Desai.

The other newer IITs on the block saw admissions open at lower ranks. IIT (BHU) Varanasi saw 35 students from the top 1,000 join its campus.

Weightage to class XII scores/ 2013

80% IIT entrants from just 3 boards

Hemali Chhapia TNN

The Times of India 2013/07/11

Mumbai: For long, when it came to getting into IITs, signing up with the right coaching centre was what mattered more than which school board you attended. But the new entrance exam system, which gives weightage to class XII scores of candidates, has changed the rules of the game in one fell swoop.

The list of candidates selected last week for the IITs showed that a vast majority of the successful candidates – more than 8,000 out of 9,700 – or over 80% came from just three school boards: the CBSE, Andhra Pradesh and Punjab state boards.

“More than 5,500 students come from the CBSE board. Then, there are close to 1,800 of them from Andhra Pradesh and another 750 from Punjab,” said JEE (advanced) chairman H C Gupta, about this year’s list. There are 30 other boards in India from where a small count of students has qualified. “There are anywhere between five and 10 to over 100 students from some other boards,” Gupta said.


8,000 of 9,700 students selected came from three boards — CBSE, Andhra Pradesh & Punjab

Of these, 5,000 are from CBSE, 1,800 from Andhra and 750 from Punjab

CBSE has sent more students than other boards in past too. In 2011, of 13,196 qualified candidates, 56% were from CBSE

Statistics from the IITs show that in JEE 2010, of the qualified candidates, 58% were from CBSE, 36% from state boards and 6% from ICSE. While 3.5% of the CBSE candidates qualified, it was 2.3% for state boards and 2.7% for ICSE

SC| ST students

Cut-off lowered/ 2017

Oct 16 2016 : The Times of India

IITs have reduced Class XII cut-off for SCST candidates from 70% to 65% in JEE Advanced 2017.

Foreign students: 2017

Somdatta Basu, 10% extra IIT seats for foreign students, Oct 16 2016 : The Times of India

Exams To Be Held In Six Countries

Up to 10% additional seats in each IIT course can now go to foreign students. Casting the enrolment net for foreign students wider, the IITs will now hold their entrance exam at six international centres instead of just one so far.

“Foreign candidates will have to qualify the JEE advanced examination for an IIT seat. The Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering (GATE) for entry to MTech courses will be held in these six countries as well,“ said an official. Foreign candidates, however, will not have to take the JEE main examination.

Induction of foreign students will not mean less seats for Indian students. “The 10% intake is in addition to the existing seats available in each of the 23 IITs,“ the official clarified. Also, 20,000 more candidates will be eligible to write the exam after clearing JEE main, thus taking the total number to 2,20,000.

The examination will be held in six countries outside India -Ethiopia, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, UAE, Nepal and Singapore. The number of foreign students can't exceed 10% of the total seats in each course offered by the IITs and ISM-Dhanbad. There will also be no quota in this category .

Facilities for 2017 admissions

“Various interactive fea tures are conceived to make the process of registration, fee payment, result announcement, choice filling, etc, less strenuous. Features like short video tutorial and SMS services will be used extensively to help the candidates,“ said a senior official.

From 2017, candidates who register late for the IIT-JEE advanced exam will also be charged a late fee of Rs 500.

The registration fee has been increased to Rs 1,200 from Rs 1,000 for girls and reserved category students, and to Rs 2,400 from Rs 2,000 for others. Students from Saarc countries will pay $135 and those from other other countries $270. The late fee for them is $80.

In another change, candidates applying under PWD category with dyslexia must submit a certificate from a doctor specialising in psychiatry and associated with Rehabilitation Council of India (RCI) or Dyslexia Associations. The medical certificate must mention the word `severe'.

IITs' right to set academic standards

While IIT Roorkee has had to re-admit students from reserved categories despite their failing to maintain required grades, the Uttarakhand HC had supported the IITs' right to set academic standards, HRD minister Smriti Irani told Lok Sabha.Irani told the House in response to a question that IITs have extensive support systems to help students overcome barriers such as language and their progress was tracked on a monthly basis.

Consultancy projects

2012-15: IIT-M leads

Consultancy projects taken up by the IITs, 2012-15

Manash Gohain, IIT-M beats peers in consultancy earnings, Sep 19 2016 : The Times of India

Indian Institute of Technology-Madras (IITM) bagged consultancy projects worth Rs 173.56 crore over the last three years, way ahead of other Indian engineering institutes.

According to the Union HRD ministry's National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF) report for 2016, Roorkee and Delhi are ranked second and third among the IITs vis-à-vis the worth of consultancy projects received. Together, the three IITs earned over Rs 396 crore through such projetcs. In all, eight branches of the premier institute earned more than Rs 5 crore individually in consultancy projects over the past three years.

The fact that it was the first IIT to set up an `Industrial Consultancy Centre', way back in 1973, is perhaps the reason why IIT-M has emerged as the preferred choice for industry and government organisations for consultancy projects. “Our Industrial Consultancy Centre was set up way back in the 70s, when it primarily dealt in civil, ports and automobile engineering. Gradually , it diversified to other areas, including pharmaceuticals,“ professor Bhaskar Ramamurthy, IIT-M director, told TOI.

According to the NIRF 2016 rankings, the institute is also the top-ranked engineering institution in India.

At IIT-M, over 45% of the faculty are engaged in industrial consultancy and “in the next four to five years, we aim to take this to 60%“, Ramamurthy said.

In all, 92 projects have so far been accepted by the government under the Uchhatar Avishkar Yojana (UAY), rolled out with an aim to boost research while giving students of premier institutes a more market-oriented mindset, at an expense of Rs 282 crore.

Dropout rate


Source: The Times of India

The Times of India, August 6, 2015

The Times of India, Aug 06 2015

Number of dropouts during 2012-15; Graphic courtesy: The Times of India, Aug 06 2015
The Indian Institutes of Technology with the highest number of dropouts in 2014-16 November 30, The Times of India

4,400 dropouts in 3 years at IITs and NITs

As many as 2,060 students dropped out of the 16 IITs over 2012-15, HRD minister Smriti Irani told Lok Sabha on Wednesday , listing inability to cope with academic stress as one of the reasons. At NITs, 2,352 dropped out in the same period. The IIT dropout count was highest in 2014-15, with Roorkee accounting for 228 students and Delhi for 169.

Dropout in IITs has been the highest (757) in 2014-15 Among IITs, the one in Roor kee faced 228 dropouts, the maximum, followed by 209 in IIT Kharagpur, 169 in IIT Del hi and 72 in IIT Bombay. Drop out in IIT Roorkee is on the rise. It was 159 in 2012-13 and 188 in 2013-14. Among the ol der IITs, there has been no dropout from IIT Kanpur since 2012 and only eight in from IIT Madras in 2013-14.

In the last three years (2012-15), 2,060 students have dropped out of 16 IITs In the same period, 2,352 stu dents dropped out of 30 NITs.

Giving this information to Lok Sabha, HRD minister Smriti Irani said reasons for dropping out “may be attributed to shifting to other colleges, personal reasons, medical reasons getting jobs during post-grad uate courses, inability to cope with academic stress etc“.

Irani said the institutes were taking remedial measures, including counselling and additional coaching for weaker students. HRD ministry has told Joint Seat Allocation Authority (JoSAA) that carried out joint counselling for admission to IITsNITsISM and IIITs to return bulk of non-refundable acceptance fee tuition fee to students who haven't joined courses and also told them to take necessary steps to fill up 3,200 vacant seats expeditiously .

Directive to JoSAA says that if a student withdrew before the course starts, the fee collected from the student, after a deduction of the processing fee of not over Rs 1,000 may be refunded and returned by the institution to the student who has withdrawn.

Among NITs, the ones in Rourkela, Kurukshetra, Jai pur and Calicut have wit nessed maximum dropouts.

Irani told the Parliament that both IITs and NITs have initiated several actions to minimize dropouts. In case of IITs, there is an adviser who monitors the academic pro gress and advises students about their academic per formance. Progress of such students is continuously monitored through class tests, laboratory tests, assignments, mid-term, endterm and supplementary examinations. She said additional classes are arranged for academically weaker students, at times during summer vacations. IITs have started student mentorship programme, peer assign ment learning, guided progress scheme etc. To arrest dropping out of students, NITs have the provision for additional coaching for weak students, special coaching for SCST students, two mid-term examinations per academic year, quarter classes and special examinations, provision of tutor guardian and motivational lectures.


Sruthy Susan Ullas, Dec 9, 2019 Times of India

BENGALURU: As many as 7,248 students dropped out of India’s holy grail of engineering education, the Indian Institutes of Technology, over the past five years. This staggering dropout statistic was revealed by the ministry of human resource development in the Lok Sabha recently while making a statement on top engineering institutions like the IITs and Indian Institutes of Information Technology (IIITs) getting approval to provide the exit option to students.

The exit option allows students to switch from BTech to BSc after the second semester.

Dropout data from the IIITs was not available. Sources said the IIITs, unlike some of the IITs, seemed to be averse to the idea of providing the exit option to students struggling to cope with academic pressures.

A few months ago, the IIT Council had left it to individual institutes to take a call on the proposed exit option. Subsequently, the MHRD, at its coordination forum meeting on October 16, approved a proposal authorising the board of governors of the IIITs to decide on the modalities for the implementation of the programme. The country has 24 IIITs, 19 of them based on the public-private partnership model.

Several IIITs believe that the exit option is not an antidote to the spiralling dropout rate at the premier engineering institutions.

S Sadagopan, director of IIIT-Bangalore, said, “We do not intend to introduce an exit option since it creates a stigma about the student and is as bad as a student leaving the institute. It stays with the person forever. Instead, trust the teachers at these institutes. They have lived through it for decades of professional life and know what is best for the students. There is no single formula as each individual student and each institute need a different solution.” IIIT-Hyderabad denied plans to introduce an exit option.

“IIIT closely monitors the performance of all its students, especially in the first year. Those who do well in the first year cope easily in later years. We have mechanisms to provide additional academic assistance right after their first set of examinations. We have a flexible approach to learning — students can take fewer credits in a semester and complete the requirements of degree programme on their own schedule. As a result, we see practically no student unable to complete the academic requirements,” said PJ Narayanan, director of the institute.

He, however, said an exit option would help some struggling students.

“The government must clearly spell out the requirements of an alternative degree — it’s not a fallback option, and must stand on its own. Will a well-performing student be allowed to claim an alternative degree on request? A four-year degree student could exit with an alternative degree in three years if that’s possible. The institutions contemplating this option must have thought about these scenarios and found satisfactory solutions,” he added.

IIIT-Pune registrar SN Sapali echoed him.

“Our students are mentored and monitored closely to help them excel in the programme. There is no exit programme for our students,” Sapali stated.

The ministry of human resource development has said a good job offer is one of the compelling reasons for postgraduate students to quit courses midway.


Chethan Kumar|9% of IITians dropped out in 2016-17|Jul 19 2017: The Times of India (Delhi)

Indian Institutes of Technology have seen 889 (about 9%) students drop out in the 2016-17 academic year, according to latest data released by the ministry of human resources development (MHRD). Of these, nearly 71% (630) were PG students, 196 PhD scholars and 63 undergraduates. The total number of seats available were 9,885, of which 73 were not taken.

In 2015-16, 656 students dropped out of the 23 IITs; this year marks an increase of 35% over that figure.

According to MHRD, “The main reason for PhD and postgraduate students leaving courses midway are offers for placement in public sector enterprises and personal preference for better opportunities elsewhe re“. Undergraduates left due to wrong choices made by them and poor performance, besides personal reasons.

Fourteen of the 23 IITs have registered dropouts. The recently set up institutes -in Tirupati, Bhilai, Goa, Dharwad, Jammu and Dhanbad (formerly Indian School of Mines) -have no dropouts. Most dropouts (27%) were from IIT-Roorkee, followed by Delhi (20.6%), Kanpur (17.4%) and Kharagpur (10.6%).

35% faculty shortage

The MHRD data also flag ged another area of concern -shortage of faculty . As of July 17 this year, 35% of faculty posts in IITs remain vacant. Of the 13,012 sanctioned posts, over 4,500 remain vacant. The vacancy was 38% in 2016.


To address the shortage, the ministry has decided to allow faculty working under central government or central autonomous bodies to join IITs. It also invites alumni, scientists, experts and foreign faculty to teach at IITs from time to time.

Deaths in 6 IITs

Eight deaths were repor ted from six IITs during the academic year. Four of these deaths were unnatural and four accidental. Three unnatural deaths were reported from IIT-Kharagpur while one student committed suicide at IIT-Varanasi. IIT-Madras and Roorkee reported an accident each. One student from IITBhubaneswar died due to asphyxia caused by drowning in the sea while an IIT-Mandi student drowned in a river.


A shortage of teachers

A shortage of teachers

43% of teaching slots in IITs lying unfilled Engg Students Prefer Jobs To Pursuing PhDs

By Atul Thakur, TIMES INSIGHT GROUP, 2013/03/30

The Times of India

New Delhi: At a time when ‘skill shortage’ is bemoaned by industry, nearly half of all teaching positions in IITs and over half in NITs are lying vacant. This was revealed recently in response to a question in the Lok Sabha.

It’s not only newly created IITs and NITs that face shortage. Old IITs have over 40% of their teaching positions vacant and the situation in old NITs is even worse with 57% of faculty jobs finding no takers.

In eight older IITs (including IT BHU and Roorkee University — now converted into IITs) the sanctioned strength of teaching staff is 5,356 but there are only 3,158 teachers in regular positions, resulting in 41% vacant seats. With 57% vacancy, IIT-BHU has the worst figures. It is followed by IITDelhi (50%), IIT- Kharagpur (48%) and IIT-Guwahati (42%). For the remaining four IITs, the vacant teaching positions range between a low of 19% of the sanctioned strength for IIT-Kanpur and 38% for IIT Roorkee.

A parliament question inquiring about the shortage of faculty was answered on March 13 where the ministry noted the reason for shortage as lack of PhD candidates in engineering. It also said that students preferred corporate jobs over teaching. No regular teacher in 10 new NITs New Delhi: Of the 5,891 sanctioned teaching posts in 20 old NITs, only 3,083 are filled by regulars. The 48% gap between required and employed teachers is much higher than vacancies in the IITs. NITs at Warangal, Patna, Srinagar, Jamshedpur, Kurukshetra, Agartala and Raipur have over 50% vacancies in teaching positions. NITs at Calicut, Silchar and Rourkela are the only institutes where vacancy is less than 40%.

Considering the shortage of academic staff in old and reputable colleges, one would assume the condition of newly created institutes would be worse. Yes and no. Data throws up some surprises. Four of the eight new IITs are on a par or even better than most of the older institutes. IIT-Hyderabad has only 1% teaching positions vacant while the corresponding figures are 26%, 46% and 57% for IIT Patna, Indore and Ropar respectively. The remaining four new colleges have more than 60% vacancy while IIT-Bhubaneshwar doesn’t have a single regular teacher against a sanctioned strength of 90.

Once again, the new NITs do even worse. There isn’t a single regular teacher in the 10 new NITs. According to the NIT Act and IIT Act, these institutions are declared as institutes of national importance and government spends thousands of crores of rupees to encourage technical education. For 2013-14, the budget estimates an expenditure of Rs 3,670 crore on IITs and of Rs 1,719 crore on NITs.

To make up for the shortage, the institutes are resorting to contracts, adjunct, visiting faculty and online mode of teaching. It was also recently reported that the government is planning to engage trainee teachers who will be selected from the top 15% of students from these institutes.

Faculty posts lying vacant in 16 IITs

The Times of India

Chethan Kumar, December 07 2014

Vacancies in Indian Institutes of Technology, as on April 19, 2017; The Times of India, April 19, 2017

A Report by the Human Resource Development ministry says that over 37% of faculty posts in the existing 16 Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) are vacant. Only IIT-Gandhinagar has 99% of the sanctioned faculty members working. The 16 IITs have 4,308 faculty members against the sanctioned 6,944. IIT-Kharagpur, long considered an ace, reports a 46% shortage. The overall student faculty ratio stands at 16:1.

As part of its election promise, BJP had planned to establish IITs, IIITs and NITs across the country. In November, the NDA government an nounced setting up of IITs in Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Goa, Chhattisgarh and Jammu.But, before moving ahead with the plan, the government needs to tackle the faculty shortage immediately. Going by the faculty matrix in the existing IITs, the Centre will need 100 faculty members per 1,000 students in the new institutes. Assuming each of the five new institutes gets about 200 students, then the government has to hire 100 faculty members.

As admitted by the present vice chancellor of the Hyderabad University, Prof Ramakrishna Ramaswamy: “We’re failing to replace teachers who are retiring or resigning even in places like the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, IITs or some other top institutes.” Echoing the view, Rao had said: “The problem has to be viewed holistically. It needs immediate attention.” The situation in IIITs is equally bad with a student-faculty ratio of 29:1. IIITs in Allahabad, Gwalior, Jabalpur and Kancheepuram have a sanctioned strength of 282 but have only 166 faculty members — a shortage of nearly 42%. The 30 NITs across the country, too, are facing a shortage of 28%.

2018: IITs face 34% faculty shortage

Niharika Alva, IITs face 34% faculty crunch, Delhi’s tech institute 29%, April 1, 2018: The Times of India

The shortage of staff at the 23 Indian Institutes of Technology, 2018
From: Niharika Alva, IITs face 34% faculty crunch, Delhi’s tech institute 29%, April 1, 2018: The Times of India

India’s 23 Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) collectively have a faculty shortage of 34% as in March 2018, with only one, IIT-Mandi in Himachal Pradesh, having more than the sanctioned strength. IITMumbai faces a 27% shortage in teachers.

The problem is not restricted to newer IITs like those in Palakkad, Tirupati and Goa, which don’t have the sanctioned faculty, but in older ones like those in Mumbai, Kharagpur and Kanpur where the shortage is between 25% and 45%.

Last month, the ministry of human resource development said it would try and make it easier for IITs to acquire visas for foreign faculty, hoping to narrow the gap between sanctioned and existing strength of teachers.

Education expert AS Seetharamu said: “Earlier, about 15% of IIT graduates would come back as faculty, but this percentage is dropping. Now, up to 50% of graduates go abroad to find work, while most of the remaining enter software and IT companies in India.”

With the increase in number of IITs and National Institutes of Technology, the teaching staff needed is also on an increasing graph.

“However, there has been no subsequent rise in the number of people eligible and available for these positions,” Seetharamu said, adding that this gap can be plugged by increasing competitiveness of salaries and encouraging graduates to take up doctoral studies as PhDs are required of prospective faculty.

While IIT-Mandi is in the best position with four faculty members more than the sanctioned strength, IIT-Bhilai, in Chhattisgarh is the worst-hit, with 58% vacancies for professors.

Among the top five ranked institutes, Kharagpur has 46% vacancies, followed by 37% in Kanpur, 29% in Delhi, 28% in Chennai and 27% in Mumbai.

Family backgrounds

Where the students come from

2016: Delhi, Jaipur, Hyderabad The Times of India, June 23, 2016

Hemali Chhapia

Delhi has pipped Jaipur, which traditionally topped the charts and cornered the lion's share of seats at these institutes. Three Maharashtra cities --Mumbai, Pune and Nagpur --figured in the top 10 cities for the first time, said experts.MP's Indore and Bhopal will send 805 students to the IITs.

Mumbai has improved to fourth position on the chart from sixth position last year.Lucknow is a new entrant to the top club. In the last two years, Jaipur, Delhi, Hyderabad, Vijayawada, Patna and Mumbai, in that order, sent most students to the IITs. This time, out of 14,385 candidates who qualified to join the IITs, those from 15 cities comprise 50% of the students who made the cut. Till last year, fewer cities dominated the list and half of those who qualified for the IITs came from only eight locations.

The city-wise data has been analysed by the IITs, based on the communication address provided by the aspirants. Most students, said faculty , provide their perma nent address so that no correspondence is lost.

“We were noticing the slow rise of Delhi since a few years. Mumbai and its satellite towns, too, have a better rank. But if one goes by the absolute numbers, we see that there has been an overall drop in candidates from all these cities,“ said a JEE chairman.

Each of the top three cities in this year's list--Delhi, Jaipur and Hyderabad--historically saw about 2,000 students qualify for the IITs each year. But the distribu tion of students is rather different this year. Interestingly, Vijayawada which saw 1,448 students qualify in 2014, witnessed a meteoric drop in the candidate count this year.

Fall in numbers from the big metros has been accompanied by an increase in students from smaller towns and many more cities have sent students to the IITs this year.

Interestingly, Kargil will send 10 students to the top engineering colleges and so will Latur, which has seen 24 candidates qualify .

Orai in Jalaun of Uttar Pradesh, too, did well with 26 students qualifying for IITs.“While diversity adds richness to the classroom, each edition of the JEE hopes to be more inclusive so that students from every corner of the country can make it to our campus,“ said another JEE chairman.

IIT aspirants: class character


1/3rd IIT aspirants are kids of public sector, government staff

Yogita Rao, TNN | Jul 14, 2013

The Times of India

Aspirants whose parents were in the public sector or government service formed almost one third of the total candidates, around 5.06 lakh, who registered for the joint entrance exam.

MUMBAI: Most aspirants for the premier Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) are either children of government employees or whose parents hold public sector jobs, while children of businessmen and farmers lag behind. But data on IIT aspirants and successful candidates reveals that doctors' children performed better in the IIT entrance tests than those whose parents were engineers or government employees.

Aspirants whose parents were in the public sector or government service formed almost one third of the total candidates, around 5.06 lakh, who registered for the joint entrance exam. But their success rate was just 5.8%. On the contrary, out of the 7,067 doctors' children, 9.92% made the grade, the highest among any other professions.

While children of government staffers stand at third position, those whose parents are into teaching/research also did better with a success rate of 5.21%. Among girls too, the highest success rate of 5.74% was seen among doctors' children. But most girls, or 54,576 of the 1.69 lakh registering for the test, were children of government employees.

"More doctors send their children into engineering as a qualification in the medical field takes about nine years while one can become an engineer in just four years," said JEE (Advanced) - 2013, chairman, H C Gupta.

Tata Institute of Social Sciences professor Bino Paul believe that about a couple of decades ago, before globalization, the trend was different. "IITs remained heavily elitist before and during globalization. However, in the globalised world, brand IIT is facing a challenge from institutes in the Ivy League. The highly networked group prefer to send their children abroad even for undergraduate studies. Students who are in international schools, with higher resources, now have global aspirations. IITs miss out on these chunks," he said.

IITians: family backgrounds

IITians' family background.jpg; Graphic courtesy: The Times of India
IITians' family background.jpg; Graphic courtesy: The Times of India

Over 50% of IITians' mothers are graduates

The Times of India, Oct 11 2015

Hemali Chhapia-Shah & Yogita Rao

Over 50% of IITians' moms are grads, but stay at home

The Class of 2019 at the IITs is largely the story of an Indian urban middle-class home where the woman spent her early years earning an education and then stayed at home to raise her family . The tech schools have never given out information on mothers of the candidates who are picked.

But this time, they have released data that shows most mothers are at least graduates and largely homemakers.

Of the 9,974 students who have gone on to join the IITs, the mothers of around 2,250 are postgraduates; another 3,200 are graduates (in all over 50%). The literacy rate among fathers is much higher.

As many as 6,690 of women are stay-at-home moms.Most are financially dependent with an annual income of less than Rs 1 lakh. Barring 1,400 fathers, everyone was educated enough to show their children the path to take, and 1,550 fathers have an annual income of over Rs 8 lakh.There is no information provided on the incomes of mothers of 5,749 candidates and fathers of 1,400.

“Educated mothers definitely help in the preparation that students have to make for IIT. The fact that a majority of mothers are graduates proves the point. However, these days, students are exposed to a lot of information and with help from various quarters -school teachers, coaching institutes -even first-generation learners do well in competitive exams,“ says Meenal Mohgaonkar, mother of city's second highest scorer in JEE (Advanced), Ajinkya.

Mohgaonkar, a radiologist who was working as the head of department at a private medical college in Nashik, moved to Mumbai with Ajinkya to ensure he gets the best coaching. She added that mothers also help in relieving stress as the preparation period is pretty long and the mental state is never consistent and students go through several ups and downs.

Remaining in the box of mother and homemaker was probably more of an ultimate choice than desire, given the societal conditions.

Majority: Urban, not coached

The Times of India, Aug 23 2016

State-wise and board-wise distribution of admitted candidates; Graphic courtesy: The Times of India, August 23, 2016

75% of those in IITs are from cities  An industry has sprung up around coaching institutes for IIT entrance exams, but students who selfstudy may fare better. In 2016, 5,539 students (52.4%) out of the 10,576 who got admission to IITs had studied on their own. Those who went to coaching centres comprised 44.5% (4,711) of successful candidates.

The remaining 2% either took individual tuitions or did correspondence cour ses. The trends from JEE (advanced) in 2016 were analysed by IIT-Guwahati. A detailed analysis of 2016, JEE (ad vanced) by IIT-Guwahati shows that IITs are still urban-centric with 75% of successful students coming from cities and the rest from rural areas. It also shows in the occupation of parents.

Of the 36,566 who qualified for admission into IITs NITsIIITs and other government-funded technical institutions, parents of 10,200 are in government service followed by 5,814 in business, 4,097 in private jobs, 3,213 in agriculture, 2,018 in public sector, 1,700 in teachingresearch.

Parents of 327 students practised law, 59 are in the pharmacy sector and only 21 are architects.

Rajasthan known for its IIT coaching centres in Kota has contributed the maximum 1646 students this year.An IIT director pointed out that Tamil Nadu which once contributed a lot to IITs is surprisingly not among the top 12 states.

Students going to CBSEaffiliated schools have done the best (5,849).

IIT-Guwahati also did an analysis of educational qualification of parents whose children qualified for joint counselling to IITsNITsIIITs and other governmentfunded technical institutes.Little over 1,000 were illiter ate, 5,090 matriculate, 14,619 graduate and 8,893 postgraduates. Educational data of over 5,000 parents was not available. Analysis also shows that parental annual income of 6,929 successful students was up to Rs 1 lakh.

Female students

2015: Number of girls, zone-wise

The Times of India, Jun 18 2015

Marginal rise in no. of girls qualifying JEE

Yogita Rao

IIT-Delhi zone has bagged two of the top three slots in JEE (Main) 2015. While Satvat Jagwani from Satna in Madhya Pradesh, who appeared from the Kanpur zone, bagged the AllIndia Rank (AIR) 1, with a score of 469 of 504, Janak Agrawal and Mukesh Pareekh, both from Indore (Delhi zone), got AIR 2 and AIR 3, respectively .

IIT-Bombay zone, which had slipped to third position in terms of overall performance in 2014, was No. 1 this year while other top zones -IIT-Madras and IIT-Delhi -saw a steep fall in the number of candidates who qualified.

More than 26,456 or 22% of the 1.17 lakh students who appeared for the exams across the country qualified for 10,000-odd IIT seats. Last year, around 27,172 or 20% of the 1.3 lakh students had made it to the general merit list. Around 11% of the total students who have qualified for IITs are girls.

In 2015 successful candidates must either fall in the top 20 percentile of their respective boards or score 75% and above in their Class XII exams, to be eligible for the IIT seat, said an IIT-Bombay official.

IITs will conduct a joint seat allocation process along with the NITs for the first time this year. The detailed procedure has to be released by IITBombay.

Of the 3,049 girls who passed for JEE (Main) 2015, Indore's Krati Tiwari with AIR 47, is the topper. The number of girls qualifying in the exam saw a marginal rise from the previous year's 3,009. OBC topper Majji Sandeep Kumar from Vizianagaram also got an AIR of 10. Chinmaya Sahoo from Pune is the topper in the OBC and disabled category .

The IIT-Madras zone, home to the coaching hub in Andhra Pradesh, has bagged five of the Top 10 merit ranks in the country . The region, which had 50 of the Top 100 rank-holders last year, saw only 28 students fall in the top list this year. The Delhi region, which had the maximum succeeding candidates last year, saw a drop in the numbers--from 6,528 to 4,511.

Bharat Khandelwal, with an AIR 5, is the topper in the IIT-Bombay zone. He managed a score of 440 in the test.

2015: an increase

The Times of India, Aug 20, 2015

Yogita Rao

More girls now make it to IIT

The number of girls admitted to IITs has gone up marginally in 2015 too, from 8% 2014 to 9% in the 2015 batch. Though, in absolute numbers, girls on the elite institutes' campuses have gone up by 40, compared to 2014, gender disparity continues to be a problem.

Of the 9,974 students allotted seats in 18 IITs in the first joint seat allocation process, only 900 are girls.

Of the total students who qualified for IITs this year, only 11% were girls. After seat allotments, only 900 got in to the premier institutes.Of the total candidates registered, the number of girls is close to 18%. Before the twotier exam was introduced in 2012, the number of girls registering for the joint entrance examination was steadily on the rise. From around 24.3% of the total registered candidates in 2008, it had gone up to 33.3% in 2012.

Professors attribute the poor representation of girls on engineering campuses to the mindset of people. Pradipta Banerji, director, IIT-Roorkee, said girls are poorly represented only in the undergraduate programme, though their success percentage is usually on par with boys.

"There are not many girls taking the JEE (Main), so we get fewer students for JEE (Advanced). But at the postgraduate level, we have more women on the campus. In fact, 44% doctorate students on the Roorkee campus are women. Of the total student population, they constitute around 15%," said Banerji, adding that people are unwilling to send their girls to a residential campus.

Unfair policies to hit girl education — MKSS

A professor from IIT-Bombay agreed that students on IITs come from a pan-India population and therefore it is difficult to expect a quick change in mindset. IITs had reduced the entrance test fee to half for girls, said Devang Khakhar, IIT-Bombay director and chairman of JEE (advanced). Last year, of the five students from IIT-Bombay who bagged the top offer from a social networking site during placements, two were girls.

International students

2017: attempt to attract foreigners fails

Subhash Mishra, For 1st Time, JEE (A) Held In 5 Foreign Centres Besides Dubai, May 22, 2017: The Times of India

The IITs' attempt to don a more global look has not taken off the way the country's premier technology institutes would have liked it to. In a first, the IIT-JEE (Advanced) was conducted in five international centres apart from Dubai, which was the only offshore venue till 2016.

Even though 1,100 seats have been earmarked for overseas candidates, only 222 from Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Singapore, Ethiopia and Dubai were supposed to take the entrance exam.

The move follows a decision to reserve 10% supernumerary seats for foreign students. At present, the 23 IITs, including ISM-Dhanbad, have around 11,000 seats. The foreign candidates are not required to appear in JEE (Main), the qualifying test for candidates from the country.

The cut-off marks to bag a seat in the IITs though will be the same for both categories.

According to IIT-Bombay director Devang Khakhar, the institutes need to penetrate better among schools abroad to draw more candidates. “We haven't done enough publicity and students also need to get better prepared to appear in the IIT-JEE (Advanced). This was our first attempt to reach out to the foreign shores. That we have been able to garner attention and hold the exam is an achievement in itself.This is just the beginning,“ Khakhar said .

According to sources, only one team from the IITs had visited all the six countries in an attempt to attract candidates. It was done just a few months ago, barely allowing enough time for candidates to decide on taking the exam.

“More attention needs to be devoted to organising the exam overseas. Since these candidates are not required to appear in JEE (Main), the registration process could have started earlier. Even a year-round registration system can be put in place,“ said an IIT official. The official argued that the system of each IIT taking turns to conduct the exam in one of the foreign locations every year may not be a good option.

“Each IIT should be responsible for conducting the exam in one particular offshore centre every year. This will it to formulate policies to increase the number of takers,“ he said.

As many as 153 candidates have registered from Dubai followed by 33 students from Kathmandu, 13 students from Dhaka, 12 candidates from Singapore, 9 students from Colombo and only 2 candidates from Addis Ababa.

A senior IIT official, ho wever, applauded the attempt to hold the exam overseas.“Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering (GATE) is taken by senior students holding a graduation degree or some with work experience. Much like the IIT ­JEE (advanced) exam, GATE, too was held in the six countries for the first time. Yet, there were not too many takers for the exam.Only 254 applicants had registered out of which 220 took the test. Our exam has got 222 registered candidates.With fresh students appearing in the IIT-JEE (Advanced) we have not fared too badly ,“ he said. “There was clear instruction from the HRD ministry that even if there was one candidate from any country we would have to hold the test there,“ he added.

Offshore IITs

Shevgaonkar's illegal IIT in Mauritius

The Times of India

Dec 29 2014

IIT-D could not show proof of MEA nod for offshore campus

The possible reason for the resignation of IIT Delhi director R K Shevgaonkar could be his alleged involvement in illegally setting up an offshore campus of the institute in Mauritius, top human resource development (HRD) ministry sources claimed on Sunday . Shevgaonkar did not respond to repeated attempts by TOI to contact him.

A top HRD official insisted Shevgaonkar was cornered on the Mauritius issue. “We were asking him questions to which no satisfactory reply was forthcoming,“ he said.

According to him, Shevgaonkar had taken the proposal of an IIT D campus in Mauritius to the IIT Council which told him that the Institutes of Technology Act that governs IITs do not enable creation of offshore campuses.However, he said, Shevgaonkar went ahead on a memorandum of understanding with Tertiary Education Commission of Mauritius. The proposed institute was to be called International Institute of Technology Research Academy. Claiming that IIT Delhi director R K Shevgaonkar had to resign after he tried to set up an offshore campus in Mauritius, a top HRD ministry source said, “We asked the director what is the commitment -financial or non-financial -from IIT Delhi to the proposed campus. We also asked him to show any authorization from the HRD ministry . He could not produce any paper.“

IIT Delhi was also asked if it had the clearance of the ministry of external affairs. “IIT Delhi claimed they had MEA permission but again could not produce any evidence,“ the official said. Last month when HRD ministry found that MEA clearance was not there, it issued a circular to all higher educational institutions that prior permission of MEA and HRD would be needed for any offshore campus. HRD sources said even the copy of the MoA that was provided by IIT Delhi has two pages missing. “Maybe it is an inadvertent error but we asked for the missing pages three weeks back and they are yet to be received,“ a ministry official said.

The ministry said even as none of the clearances were available, Shevgaonkar went ahead and gave an interview to a Mauritian daily in which he said students of the new institute will get the same degree as those at IIT Delhi.

Meanwhile, a senior member of the IIT Delhi board said, “Whatever be Shevgaonkar's alleged involvement with the offshore campus in Mauritius, there is no denying he was under tremendous pressure from the HRD ministry. Such pressure does not come in writing. If views of department of personnel & training and finance ministry were being sought, why was a meeting organized between IIT officials and BJP leader Subramanian Swamy for settlement of his salary dues.“ But BJP member Shrikant Sharma denied any pressure on Shevgaonkar to resign.

Foreign students

The Times of India, Aug 22 2016

Akshaya Mukul  The Joint Admission Board (JAB) of IITs decided that students from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan, Maldives, Singapore, the UAE and Ethiopia will be allowed to directly appear for the JEE (advanced) test, skipping the JEE (main) that Indian students have to take.

In any case, he said, foreign students would not eat into the seats meant for Indians. The principal reason, however, is to make it to the list of top international educational institutions. “In all international rankings one of the key parameters is international students and IITs lose out in a big way despite scoring well on other parameters,“ another official said.

“Foreign nationals will be given seats under super numerary category ,“ he said, adding IIT-Bombay was entrusted with the job of implementing the programme. Exam centres will be set up in these countries.

While Pakistan has been left out due to home ministry's objection, the choice of Ethiopia as the only co untry from Africa has evinced a lot of curiosity. Justifying the choice, Gautam Biswas, director of IIT-Guwahati, said, “For the last many years, we have got a large number of Ethiopian students in post-graduate courses. IITs are popular there.“

IIT-Guwahati had eight MTech students from Ethiopia. The UAE, an official said, was selected as people of various nationalities reside in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

The cost of admission will be recovered from the foreign student and the government will not bear any expense on account of foreign students. They will be given the same facilities as Indian students.

Seeking employment abroad

A weakening of the trend

Hemali Chhapia, Jan 17 2017: The Times of India

IITians who went abroad in 2016; Hemali Chhapia, Jan 17 2017: The Times of India

Brain gain: IITians turning down int'l offers?

One leg of an IITian is in India, the other in Air India, went a popular wisecrack in the late 1980s and early '90s.Every year, hundreds of freshly minted engineers from these highly rated institutes would fly westward. This time, the template followed by several graduating classes was disrupted as many turned down international job offers.

Not even 200 of the approximate 10,000 students from IITs took up positions outside India last year. Fifty students, who make up the largest contingent, will be leaving from IIT-Bombay , followed by 40 from Delhi, 25 from Kharag pur, 19 from Kanpur, 13 from Madras, 17 from Roorkee and five from Guwahati. In 2012, 84 IIT-B students had accepted international job offers.

“Compared to 20 years ago, a very small percentage of students go abroad today . This is contrary to the general perception,“ says IIT-Delhi director V Ramgopal Rao. “Twenty years ago, 80% of the BTech class used to go abroad. Now these numbers are insignificant.“

The count was larger last year, though not dramatically different. While the first phase of placements have concluded, the ensuing edition is unlikely to have international companies flying down to campuses.“When we asked companies why they were coming to campus with fewer offers, they said that their requirement was lower and profiles too had changed,“ said professor Kaustubha Mohanty , convenor of the AllIIT Placement Committee.

But that may not be the en tire story. Deepak Phatak, chair professor at IIT-Bombay, said, “A large number of our students are not seeking jobs outside India.“

In fact, Phatak was concerned about the quality of graduates when international offers started dwindling a few years ago. “So I conducted exit interviews and found that students perceive that the land of opportunity is here,“ he said. Moreover, with global companies setting up offices in India, students can join Google in Bengaluru instead of California.

In the early '90s, the outflow of computer science graduates to the US was so high that the World Bank, in a report, had suggested that an exit tax be imposed on IITians and other professionals leaving the country--this, it said, could earn the government over $1 billion per annum. This year, the US which used to attract most candidates has been pipped by Japan. For instance, 35 students from IIT-B are headed far east as compared to 10 who are going to the US.


IITs world no. 4 in creating $-bn startups

Ranjani Ayyar, IITs world number 4 in creating $-bn startups , Jan 28, 2017: The Times of India

Delhi Churns Out Maximum Indian Unicorn Founders

If you aspire to create a billion-dollar business in India, one of the IITs is your best bet. Sage, a UK-based accounting and payroll company , stated this in a research.

In a study that lists universities that have produced the most unicorn founders, the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) bagged the fourth spot. US-based Stanford University claimed the top rank with 51 unicorn founders, followed by Harvard University with 37. The University of California came third with 18 unicorn founders and IIT followed with 12 founders.

Unicorns are startups with more than a billion-dollar valuation. India is home to 10 unicorn companies. From e-com merce giants Flipkart, Snapdeal and ShopClues to cab aggregator Ola, restaurant aggregator Zomato, classified ads platform Quikr, digital payments company Paytm, mobile adtech player InMobi, messaging app Hike and analytics company Mu Sigma, these startups have grabbed spots in the elite club and almost all the founders have had stints at one of the IITs.

Within the various IITs, it is Delhi that produced the maximum unicorn founders.Sachin and Binny Bansal of Flipkart, Sanjay Sethi of ShopClues, Zomato founders Deepinder Goyal and Pankaj Chaddah, Snapdeal's Rohit Bansal and Quikr's Pranay Chulet and Jiby Thomas (now founder of Webbutterjam Digital) are all products of IIT Delhi. Ola's founders Bhavish Aggarwal and Ankit Bhati went to IIT Bombay. Inmobi's founders Naveen Tiwari, Abhay Singhal and Amit Gupta studied at IIT Kanpur while their cofounder Mohit Saxena went to IIT Roorkee. “Good students and faculty is a given with IITs. What is probably the differentiator with IIT Delhi is the culture of the institute which has been cultivated over decades. They are more connected to the society and have a deep awareness of the problems that exist. Hence, they are able to look for solutions and become entrepreneurs,“ said IIT Delhi director V Ramgopal Rao, who is an alumnus of IIT Bombay .

Industry experts say that while earlier it was the rigour of the entrance exams and the competitive culture within the IITs that led to the creation of such firms, over the last 5-7 years, there has been a structured effort to foster unicorns. “Over last 5-7 years, each of the IITs have made significant strides in creating the right ambience to promote entrepreneurs. From bringing in seasoned alumni to assist startups to encouraging students and alumni to take the entrepreneurial plunge, setting up mentoring clinics and offering assistance of professors, a disciplined effort has been made to create the right structures to foster startups and their founders,“ said Suresh Kalpathi of Kalpathi Investments, an alumnus of IIT Madras who is involved with PanIIT Alumni Association.

According to the study , for over 60% of the founders, the current unicorn was the only company they had ever built. However, indicating that experience pays, the research said those who founded more than one company have, on average, a 34.5% higher valuation than those who founded just one company ($4.29billion vs $5.88billion). In terms of countries that are home to the most number of unicorns, US tops the list with 144 unicorns, followed by China with 47. India grabs the third spot with 10.

Placements, Campus-

2015, 2016

IIT placements: 2015, 2016

Hemali Chhapia, Happy placements for IITs this Dec?, Nov 03 2016 : The Times of India

Indian Institutes of Technology are forecasting a happy placement season this December. Pre-placement offers (PPOs) are up by 25-30%, compared to last year, and the tech colleges have witnessed a rise in companies signing up to recruit their graduates.

Seasoned companies have taken the PPO route this year, the ones that had earlier hired students as interns and now want them on the rolls.American Express India, Vodafone, Accenture Services, Visa and Capital One Financial Services are among those that have offered PPOs to several IIT-Roorkee candidates.At IIT-Kanpur, Barclays, which used to visit the campus, has offered PPOs to candidates, but has not confirmed its participation in the placement season. HUL is another such company.

“Across IITs, we have seen that PPOs are on the rise,“ said IIT-Madras training and placement advisor Manu Santhanam. Last year, this in stitute received 69 PPOs and this year it has already received 64. “We expect the number to go up. The rise in PPOs is the fallout of the internship process getting streamlined.“ he added.

Earlier, students and their departments used to apply for internships; it is now a centralized process co-ordinated by the placement cell. The final recruitment season looks positive with 230 companies having 320 profiles registering for placements .

At IIT-Bombay, 125 PPOs have flown in, compared to 150 last year. Rakesh Patel, placement team member, said 270 companies had registered and the figure is likely to touch 320. At IIT-Roorkee, a little more than 110 “quality“ PPOs have been offered and 30 are in the pipeline. That is a 30% rise from last year's 85. “These are very good PPOs, not those offered by start-ups,“ said placement head N P Padhy. Nearly 300 companies are expected to land up on campus for the final placement process.

IIT-BHU has seen a 32% jump in PPOs to 94, from 71 in 2015. IIT-Kharagpur has received 150 PPOs and is inching closer to its last year's mark of 170. Some new companies have confirmed participation in the placement process, said placement chairperson of IIT Kharagpur, Debasis Deb. The institute is expecting 250 companies to arrive on campus for recruitment, which begins, from December 1. Around 1,950 students are gearing up to sit in the placement process.

(With inputs from Somdutta Basu, Shreya Roy Chowdhury and Preeti Biswas)

2017: IIT-Madras beats IIT-B

Hemali Chhapia, In a twist, IIT-Madras beats IIT-B in placements in 2017, December 18, 2017: The Times of India

IIT-Bombay No Longer Prime Pick

Placements 2017 at the Indian Institute of Technology saw a dramatic change in an established trend.

It was IIT-Kanpur that had the most successful Day One, fetching the largest number of offers. A good five days into the placements, IIT-Bombay had not caught up and it was at IIT-Madras that the largest number of students was placed. The data disrupts the myth that IIT-Bombay registers the best placement season every year.

“In general, companies have spread across the country, so there is no major preference for Bombay any more. Also, this year, many companies are picking talent for their R&D profiles. So they have moved across campuses to get a lot of people,” said Manu Santhanam, adviser, training and placement, IIT-Madras.

Opening day offers this year were up by 20%-50 % as compared to 2016.

IIT-Kanpur’snumbers were propped up by Intel — the largest recruiter — which picked 59 candidates in the first slot. “Many other recruiters picked up larger numbers compared to the previous years, which mirrors the fact that the market is also good,” said Syam Nair, placement head at IIT-Kanpur.

Day One offers at IIT-Kharagpur went up to 192, much higher than last year’s 127. “I have been in this office for the last four years and this has undoubtedly been the best,” said Debasis Deb, placement head at IIT-Kharagpur. A total of 1,185 of its 1,900 students have already been placed.

Similarly, Day One at IITMadras saw 35 more offers than last year at 195; even international offers went up from 10 to 22 this year. By the close of phase 1, 763 offers were made. Add the pre-placement offers, which stood at 114 this year, and a total of 877 students have been placed compared to 745 last year.

Compared to 2016, when IIT-Bombay saw the worst Day One figures in five years, this year was more promising; 55 international offers in the first five days were the icing on the cake. IIT-Roorkee, meanwhile, reportedly crossed 400 offers within two days and by the close of Day 5 it had placed 540 candidates.

“Interestingly, the IITs have not had too many startups this year. The numbers are larger than last year, yet smaller as compared to 2015,” said a placement committee member.

Preparatory programme

2015: IIT preparatory programme

The Times of India, Jul 26 2015

Hemali Chhapia

Three-fold jump in IIT prep course enrolments in 2015

In 2015, the IIT preparatory course has close to three times the number of students it had last time -63 -as also the year before that when there were 48 students. To qualify for the preparatory programme, students need to score a mere 31 marks of 504 (6.1%) and 1.54 marks of 88 (1.75%) in each subject. This is lower than the subjectwise qualifying marks for the prep course last year, which was three.

IIT-Kharagpur and IIT-BHU will have the largest count of prep course students with 36 and 32, respectively .Indian School of Mines and IIT-Roorkee come next with 26 and 21 candidates “It is heartening to see we have not had to draw up a preparatory list for scheduled caste students. But most students who will have to undergo the one-year bridge course are from the physically challenged category and those from the scheduled tribe,“ said a JEE (advanced) chairman.

Each year, IITs provide concessions to reserved category students.They lower entry levels, going to 50% below the last general category student's marks to do justice to the quota. But to reach the colleges' full capacity , scores are relaxed once again and students are selected to be coached in maths, physics and chemistry for a year before they can join the IITs after clearing an internal test.

As against the previous five years, there may not be enough students this year to fill the seats meant for reserved category students. In 2012, for the first time the elite technology schools did not hold any preparatory course for ST candidates. For the sixth consecutive year in 2015, no SC candidate had to spend a year doing the bridge course. More students qualified than the number of seats available.


Clean air technologies, 2020

March 2, 2020: The Times of India

Clean air technologies developed by the IITs/ 2020
From: March 2, 2020: The Times of India

To combat the issue of air pollution in the country, select IITs have developed prototype of air purification machines. Among them is a smog tower developed by IIT Bombay, which can clean air in a 300-metre radius; and a stubble removing machine, developed by IIT Ropar, which helps reduce stubble burning in Punjab and Haryana.

Union minister of state for human resource development, Sanjay Dhotre, recently inaugurated an exhibition on clean air technologies organised by the Centre of Excellence for Research in Clean Air. The exhibition showcased clean air technologies developed by IITs at Bombay, Ropar, Dhanbad and Delhi, with the latter showcasing its work through their incubated start-ups like Aerogram and Kriya Labs.

Dhotre emphasised that “in an age of environmental concerns, the need is to accord highest priority to civic awareness regarding clean environment.” He claimed that the Centre is committed to the cause of fighting rising air pollution levels and is taking all possible measures to spread awareness on clean air issues and providing all possible support for the development and promotion of cleaner air technologies.

One of the prototypes on display was an air cleaning system tower developed at Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay.

Awkash Kumar of IIT Bombay, who was part of the team that developed the ambient air cleaning system, said: “In urban areas, there are no industries and pollutants are usually from traffic or construction. So we have to focus on the machines that can handle pollution.”

However, it was the machine developed by IIT Ropar that attracted the most attention. “The removed stubble is collected in a trolley, which is attached to the main machine. It can collect one acre of stubble in an hour. This is then turned into manure or cut into small pieces and spread over the land,” said Fateh Singh, a student of IIT Ropar.

IIT Delhi director, V Ramgopal Rao, appreciated the effort being put in by the young scientists and said that the low-cost air pollution monitors developed in IIT-D will be used in vehicles and in different places to improve the extent of monitoring.

Local Electrode Atom Probe(LEAP)

Manash Gohain, IITs get cutting-edge tech to develop new materials, January 2, 2018: The Times of India

In what could help India leapfrog others in the field of ‘materials characterisation’, six Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) and the International Advanced Research Centre for Powder Metallurgy and New Materials (ARCI), Hyderabad, have come together to put in place a state-of-the-art ‘atomic probe’ research in collaboration with department of science and technology’s (DST) ‘Nano’ mission.

These seven institutions, under the leadership of IITMadras, brought to India its first Local Electrode Atom Probe(LEAP) equipment at a cost of Rs 32 crore, making it one of the major hubs of research in designing materials with tailored properties. Thisisexpectedtohave a major impact across industries — from steel to automobiles and energy to transport.

Globally, there are 90 LEAP platforms. The one installed at IIT-Madras in July 2017 is the first of its kind as it can be operated from anywhere in the world. This is a high-performance microscope that provides a precise atom-by-atom view of a material, enabling a true threedimensional (3D) atomicscale reconstruction and is expected to impart a thrust to researchin nanotechnology, among other fields.

While institutions with funding from government agencies are known to have set up national research facilities, this is the first time when seven top institutions in the country have contributed to set up such a platform. Madras, Delhi, Bombay, Kanpur, Kharagpur and Ropar IITs and ARCI contributed Rs 2 crore each, the remaining fund coming from the DST’s ‘nano-mission’ headed by professor C N R Rao.

Dr B S Murty, head of IITMadras’s department of metallurgical and materials engineering, said, “The knowledge of atomic distribution in a material at the nano-scale is vital for those interested to design and create new materials. Facilities to study material at a small scale are very few even globally and very expensive to create. Most microscopes are 2D. We have been able to set up a 3D atom probe.”

Murty expanded, “... if we understand the distribution of the atom in materials... when we are doping a material — say silicon, which is needed in all electronics — and if we add germanium, we will change its properties. But in which specific location are we going to add the element and design new materials with new properties is what this research is all about.”

‘Atom Probe’ technology has been there for over 50 years. The LEAP came 15 years ago. But in pre-LEAP days atom probe technology was slow, where leaving the sample at the machine for 24 hours yielded about 5 lakh atoms. LEAP in one hour yields5 million. Unfortunately, India never had a LEAP and Indian researchers used to depend on collaborators abroad after sending samples for research at the frontiers of materials science.

“The big impact will come in the energy sector,” Murty said, adding that the automobile sector, which is looking for light but strong materials, will also be interested. Firms like GE, Boeing, and HALwillbe among those interested, he said.

Some innovations: as in 2021 Feb


‘LakshmanRekha’: IIT-Mandi researchers develop home quarantine application for Covid patients

Researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology, Mandi have developed LakshmanRekha, an Artificial Intelligence - biometric driven Home Quarantine Management Application (HQMA) for COVID patients. The application uses a combination of biometric verification, geofencing, and artificial intelligence, to continuously monitor and accurately detect the identity of a home quarantined person. In addition to the quarantine management, this application can also serve as an unbreachable mobile phone platform for normal (non-COVID) mobile users, situations like under curfew, or any national emergency, for identifying the violators or lawbreakers.

In existing quarantine management mobile applications, individuals under self-isolation are forced to share their instantaneous position routinely via geofencing technology or they are required to upload a face selfie every hour or ten times a day. But these geofencing applications fail to ensure the user identity throughout the time because individuals can leave cell phones in isolation zones and move in/ out, leading to disobey the self-isolation rules. Similarly, the idea of uploading a face selfie every hour cannot ensure the patient’s stay in a geofenced area as they can also try to fool the system by using a photo containing its registered face.

To mitigate these risks, LakshmanRekha matches the quarantine location of the individual with the location from where they have uploaded the biometric data. Along with this, using AI, the application continually computes an authentication score that can measure how certain it is, that the quarantined user is also the one using the mobile. If the application detects any action indicating that the user identity has been changed, it will directly notify the authorities for necessary action.

The results of the research work that was funded by the Department of Science and Technology, have recently been published in the IEEE Consumer Electronics Magazine. The paper has been authored by the lead scientist on this research Dr Aditya Nigam, Assistant Professor, School of Computing & Electrical Engineering, IIT Mandi, and co-investigators on the study were Dr Arnav Bhavsar, Associate Professors, School of Computing & Electrical Engineering, along with research scholars, Daksh Thapar and Piyush Goyal of IIT Mandi, with Dr Gaurav Jaiswal from IIT Delhi and Dr Kamlesh Tiwari and Rohit Bhardwaj of BITS Pilani, Rajasthan.

IIT-Kanpur develops unmanned drone-helicopter

The Aeronautics Department at the theIndian Institute of Technology-Kanpur (IIT-K), has developed an unmanned drone-helicopter, in collaboration with a start-up EndureAir.

The unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) operates on petrol and can carry weight up to 5 kg.

"It is meant for long-endurance surveillance and can also be used for vaccine distribution," said Professor Abhishek of the Aerospace Engineering Department.

"Trials till the height of 11,500 feet have been successful. However, the engine keeps getting less powerful with increasing height. So, we are working on another version which will be battery-powered and can reach more heights.

"We hope it will get ready in two to three months," he said.

The drone-helicopter gets its location using Global Positioning System (GPS).

"We are applying for government permissions. It can carry a load of 5 kg till about 50 km now. We need certain permissions to start long-range trials," Professor Abhishek added.

IIT Madras researchers develop 'MOUSHIK' chip for IoT devices

The Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras said its researchers have successfully developed 'MOUSHIK', an indigenously-made microprocessor for the Internet of things (IoT) devices.

According to the institute, 'MOUSHIK' is a processor cum system on chip' that can cater to the rapidly-growing IoT devices, an integral part of smart cities of a digital India.

It was conceptualised, designed and developed at the Pratap Subrahmanyam Centre for Digital Intelligence and Secure Hardware Architecture (PS-CDISHA) of the RISE Group, Department of Computer Science and Engineering, IIT Madras.

"There are three steps involved in the making of a microprocessor, namely design, fabrication and post-silicon boot-up," Kamakoti Veezhinathan, Reconfigurable Intelligent Systems Engineering (RISE) Group, IIT Madras, said in a statement.

"All three processes for 'MOUSHIK' were undertaken in India, demonstrating an aAtmanirbhar' ecosystem in digital design productisation," Veezhinathan added.

The impact of the completely-indigenous development process is the showcasing of an Indian ecosystem for designing, developing and fabricating end-to-end systems within the country, leading to self-sufficiency.

According to the researchers, the design of the microprocessor, motherboard printed circuit board design, assembly and post-silicon boot-up were done at the campus.

The field applications of 'MOUSHIK' include smart cards including credit cards, ID cards, debit cards, travel cards for metros and driving licenses, electronic voting machines (EVMs) and office management systems including attendance, surveillance cameras and safe locks.

It also includes personalised health management systems, consumer electronics including but not restricted to washing machines and water pump monitoring systems.

The project was funded by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology.

IIT-Gandhinagar researchers develop fuel additives to help rockets carry more payload

Scientists from the Indian Institute of Technology Gandhinagar (IITGN) have developed a highly-efficient additive for rocket propellants that may reduce the effective fuel weight, and help carry more payload to space. The study, published in the journal Thermochimica Acta, noted that the new class of nano-additives result in a superlative enhancement in the performance of solid propellants used in rocket propulsion systems.

According to the researchers, including Kabeer Jasuja and Chinmay Ghoroi, solid propellants usually need multiple additives to improve their burning rates, performance and maximise the energy of the fuel.

While conventionally used fuel such as ammonium perchlorate (AP), widely in rocket propulsion systems, require several additives to improve performance, the scientists said these can take up to 30 per cent of the total weight of the fuel.

One such additive is boron, but the scientists added that it faces severe ignition delay and a low burning rate because of an inert boron oxide layer formation.

To overcome this hurdle, Jasuja and IITGN PhD candidate Harini Gunda developed a significantly efficient boron-rich nano-additive.

"The nano-sheet form of the material is making it rich in catalytic activity because the surface area for its reaction is significantly increased," Jasuja, Associate Professor, Chemical Engineering at IITGN, told .

"To give a sense of the surface area, for example, if you take a Rs. 1 coin and normally the area is in square centimetres, but if we were to delaminate the coin and make large number of nanosheets, these would make the same weight as the coin but the surface area would be almost like the area of a basket ball court," he explained.

According to the current study, the nano-additive enhances the fuel chemical reactions and can be used as a single substitute for multiple conventionally used additives, while taking only one per cent of the total weight.

"What this means is that, if say, we have X kilogrammes of fuel, and if we add just 1 per cent age of this in the form of the nano-additives, the actual energy output will increase by 70 per cent. So with just a pinch, or an insignificant quantity of this nanomaterial, the efficiency of the propellent will increase by a huge amount," Jasuja explained.

In controlled experiments, Jasuja and his team found that adding just one weight per cent of these additives in the form of mechanically activated magnesium bromide (MA)-MgB 2 nanosheets, enhanced the energy release by nearly 80 per cent, surpassing both conventional and other nano-additives.

According to the researchers, the new MA-MgB 2 nanosheet additives played a dual role as catalyst and fuel due to their increased surface area for reaction and its "unique and rich chemistry."

The scientists believe the scalable and economical way of synthesis of the nanosheets make it more promising in the market with production likely to be 40 times cheaper than for conventional additives.

Adding the nano additive to solid propellant eliminates the dead mass associated with other multiple additives, they added.

"Decreasing the dead mass helps increase the active mass of the payload and improves the rocket's thrust. This can help carry more weight or travel farther distance," Gunda told .

"The payload in rockets varies from 16 to 140 metric tons. With just one per cent of the fuel weight added in the form of the nanomaterial, it will help carry additional satellites into an orbit -- each satellite weighing approximately 5 to 6 tons," she added.

Using the new nano-additive, the scientists said, depending on the type of rocket, one to eight additional satellites can be carried than achieved today by a single rocket.

They believe further studies can also shed light on the potential of the additive to be used for energy storage in batteries, hydrogen production, and hydrogen storage.

IIT-Gandhinagar develops AI-based tool to detect COVID-19 using X-rays

Researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Gandhinagar have developed an artificial intelligence-based deep learning tool for detection of Covid-19 from chest X-ray images.

The online tool, which indicates the probability if a person is infected with Covid-19, can be used for quick preliminary diagnosis before the medical test. It is being tested by the Indian Institute of Public Health (IIPH).

"Given the limited testing facilities for Covid-19, there is a rush to develop AI tools for quick analysis using X-rays. Developing a reliable tool requires the combination of right algorithms and data. This is where our tool would prove useful, that can be trained for diagnostic purposes and made available for wider use," Kushpal Singh Yadav, an MTech student at IIT's Department of Computer Science Engineering, said.

The IIT researchers pooled the data of X-ray images of Covid-19 infected patients as well as healthy persons from different sources available on the internet. They trained a machine learning architecture using deep learning algorithms with these images.

"The model that we used has 12 layers of neural network, which is similar to the neurons in the human brain. The deep learning method has the advantage that it learns the disease diagnosing features from the X-ray images in an automatic way. Our tool also uses images from other lung infections such as tuberculosis, pneumonia to ensure the specificity of detection of Covid from other lung diseases," Yadav explained.

Researchers at Princeton University in the US had also recently come up with an AI-based tool for Covid-19 detection.

Krishna Prasad Miyapuram, the associate professor of cognitive science and computer science, who supervised the IIT project claimed that the tool outperforms other such high-tech devices available globally.

"Moreover, it uses simple machine learning architecture, which makes it stand out over others. However, the tool is only indicative and clinical consultation is essential to confirm the diagnosis but it can really help reduce the burden on our medical infrastructure at present," he said.

A single-day spike of 19,459 Covid-19 cases took India's tally to 5,48,318 on Monday, while the death toll climbed to 16,475 with 380 new fatalities, according to the Union Health Ministry data.

This is the sixth consecutive day that coronavirus infections have increased by more than 15,000. The country has seen a surge of 3,57,783 infections from June 1 till date.

IIT Kharagpur researchers develop UAV-assisted communication infrastructure for 5G

Kolkata: Researchers from G S Sanyal School of Telecommunication at IIT Kharagpur have developed a UAV-assisted communication infrastructure for 5G that can serve as an airborne mobile telecom tower during emergencies. The system includes an android-based application fitted to a fleet of drones which are programmed to create emergency communication networks from the closest available mobile towers, an IIT Kharagpur statement said on Thursday.

"Through intelligent programming, we can deploy our 5G-connected drone fleet in a particular location as soon as the first emergency signal is flagged.

"The data in the telecommunication backbone network is relayed to the rescue server, located thousands of miles away, within the first three minutes of the occurrence of a disaster," Prof Debarati Sen, who led the research team, said.

The disaster-hit network connection is restored through the nearest mobile tower.

In the case of network disruptions, the drones can intelligently avoid it by changing their location.

For people travelling to an affected region and devoid of any cellular network, they can be auto-connected to such nearby drone service as they search for the mobile network.

"We have already studied the performance of the UAV network with the app 'NerQuake in situations of emergency response in disaster management and maintenance of the quality of service by deploying a fleet of four unmanned aerial vehicles.

"We have used network coverage data of various mobile service providers in the northeastern states in verifying the functionality of the app," Sen said.

The team of researchers has submitted the phase-I report to the Union Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology which is funding the project.

The researchers are open to the commercialisation of this intelligent UAV system.

"The prospects of this system are wide-ranging. Apart from a disaster situation, these smart drones can be used for crowd management. In agriculture, these UAVs can be used for crop health monitoring," the researchers said.

IIT-Guwahati students develop a drone to sanitise public spaces

Students from IIT, Guwahati have made a drone equipped with an automated sprayer. This drone can be used to sanitise public areas like roads, parks, which could help in preventing spread of coronavirus.

Harvesting drinking water from air: IIT-Guwahati researchers develop novel method

Researchers at Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Guwahati have developed novel materials that can efficiently harvest water from humid air. The research has also been published in the reputed international journal of the Royal Society of Chemistry.

"With increasing water scarcity throughout the world, there have been attempts to collect and conserve water through non-traditional means. Scientists have turned to nature to design ways of water harvesting.

"For example, in regions of the world with naturally scanty rainfall, plants and insects have devised ingenious strategies to pull and collect water right out of the air. Mimicking this, scientists worldwide are trying to build technologies that can pull out water from thin air, both literally and figuratively," Uttam Manna, Associate Professor at IIT Guwahati's Centre of Nanotechnology.

He said such water-harvesting techniques use the concept of hydrophobicity or water-repelling nature of some materials.

"The concept of hydrophobicity can be understood by looking at the lotus leaf. The lotus leaf is water repellent because there is a layer of trapped air between the leaf surface and the water droplet, which causes the droplet to slide off the leaf," Manna added.

According to the team, the researchers have used the concept of chemically patterned SLIPS for the first time, to effectively harvest water from moist air.

"We have produced a highly efficient water harvesting interface where the fog collecting rate is really high. The researchers have also compared the performance of their pitcher-plant inspired materials to other bio-inspired ideas and have found theirs to be superior in terms of efficiency of water harvesting," Manna said.

"Given that more than 50 per cent of India's population has no access to safe drinking water and about 200,000 people die every year due to lack of access to safe water, the inexpensive method for harvesting water from water vapour or fog droplets in air can potentially alleviate the water scarcity issues in the country," Manna added.

The team included research scholars Kousik Maji, Avijit Das and Manideepa Dhar.

IIT Kharagpur researchers develop affordable device to diagnose COPD

Researchers at IIT Kharagpur have developed an affordable Artificial Intelligence (AI)-based diagnostic device for monitoring Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), spokesperson of the premier institute said on Friday.

COPD is a chronic lung disease caused by exposure to harmful gases and particulate matters. Its symptoms include breathing difficulty, cough, mucus production and wheezing.

The IIT Kharagpur spokesperson said, Prof Dipak Kumar Goswami and his research team at the Organic Electronics Laboratory (ORELA), department of Physics, have developed SenFlex.T, a smart mask synced with an android monitoring app through Bluetooth, that can continuously monitor breathing patterns, heart rate and oxygen saturation level in blood.

The app is connected to a cloud computing server, where AI has been implemented to predict the severity of COPD through Machine Learning (ML).

"SenFlex. T mask can be used at home by COPD patients without having to visit diagnostic centres. This will also address the critical issue of addressing COPD at an early stage and will be a boon for both patients and the overall healthcare system," explained Prof Goswami.

It contains a highly sensitive, flexible temperature sensor along with a Bluetooth-based measuring electronics.

The sensor system can continuously monitor the temperature changes of inhaled and exhaled air during breathing and record the breathing pattern.

Further, a commercially available pulse oximeter has been integrated with the sensor system to monitor the oxygen saturation level during breathing.

The product cost has been estimated at about Rs 2,500.

The researchers have filed a patent for the device which is ready for commercialisation, the spokesperson said.

The innovation has been reported in ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, a scientific journal that was established by the American Chemical Society in 2009.

IIT-Guwahati, NIT-Silchar and Dibrugarh University students develop AI-based mobile app for farmers

Students at IIT Guwahati, NIT Silchar and Dibrugarh University in Assam have jointly developed a multi-lingual smartphone application for farmers to smartly manage their farms and remotely monitor distress activities. Developed with a goal of optimising the in-farm productivity through Artificial Intelligence (AI), the application called "AgSpeak" will help the farmers in making decisions and managing farm activities through their smartphone or computer.

"India is a leading agricultural country with immense potential, yet 2 billion people globally did not have regular access to safe, nutritious and sufficient food in 2019 alone. To end this global starvation, we need to double agricultural productivity in the next 15 years. Unless we use technology appropriately in the agricultural sector, this would be impossible," said IIT Guwahati Director TG Sitharam.

According to Manik Mittal, a student at Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati, the startup is leading this initiative in the northeastern India, which has untapped potential with diverse ecosystems having agriculture as the major economic activity.

"The developed application is multi-lingual and has an option of Assamese as well. This feature is a first among all the agri-tech applications available in the market.

Driven by hyper local crop data coming from satellite and smart IOT devices, AgSpeak considers up to 20 local crop parameters which are key indicators of their health like rainfall, sunlight hours, soil health status, among others, to alert farmers about probable crop threats in advance and suggest best practices to tackle the incoming threat, hence optimising resources used and maximising productivity," he said.

"The app along with the internet of things hardware has been tested for the past three months with 500 farmers and two tea estates. Some of the major breakthroughs by the algorithm were precise prediction of blight in potato and tea mosquito bug, along with water stress in winter crops.

"These are major reasons of woes to farmers and small tea growers of Assam and cause lakhs in crop damages if not controlled in time," he added.

Another IIT Guwahati student Akash Sharma, said, nearly 250 farmers have already been provided hands on training in utilising the full potential of the app.

"However, the user friendliness and multilingual features of the app make it extremely easy for farmers to use and seldom require training. The mobile app is completely free for general small farmers. There are in-app purchases like soil testing and agri-doctor consultation.

"Besides this, the IOT devices can be rented on monthly or yearly purposes by commercial farms to further enhance precision farm management. It has been tested with many farmers and its practical utility established," he added.

The other co-founders include Siddhartha Bora (NIT Silchar), Nitin Chauhan (IIT Guwahati), Dhritiman Talukdar (NIT Silchar alumnus) and Kookil Pran Goswami (Dibrugarh University).

2014-18: major increase

Manash Pr atim Gohain & Yogita Rao, Oct 10, 2019: The Times of India

Sponsored research at the top IITs, 2014-18
From: Manash Pr atim Gohain & Yogita Rao, Oct 10, 2019: The Times of India

Quantum leap in top IITs in sponsored research

New Delhi:

Sponsored research has seen a quantum leap at the top Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) with IIT-Madras and Delhi recording a 394% and 300% growth in last five years respectively. In fact, IIT Madras became the first IIT ever to cross the Rs 500 crore mark for sponsored research, earning a total of Rs 536.54 crore worth of projects in the financial year 2018-19. IIT Delhi, Guwahati and Bombay also recorded over Rs 300 crore earnings through industry research.

IIT-Madras’ sponsored research funding was Rs 108.49 crore in 2014-15 which has gone up to Rs 536.54 crore in 2018-19 showing a steady growth of 10-15% annually. Having already earned the highest ever annual sponsored research funding in 2018-19, the IIT is expecting a growth of 15% to 20% in the current financial year. Sponsored projects include funding from industries as well as government agencies.

“We had been giving thrust to translation research —idea to product. One such manifestation is the IIT-Madras research park, the first of its kind. That basically focused our research towards the need of industry and society,” said Prof V Kamakoti, associate dean, IIT-M.

Having recently acquired the Institution of Eminence (IoE) tag, IITBombay, IIT-Delhi and IITMadras hope to significantly increase their share of sponsored research projects. IITs like Kharagpur, Bombay and Madras saw growth double in last five years in consultancy projects too.

IIT-B witnessed a surge in their funding receipts in 2016-17, and the flow remained steady. Post the IoE tag it is expecting increased funding from government agencies, some of which has already been released in the current year.

Milind Atrey, dean (research and development), IIT-B, said that the institute gives seed funding to the new faculty and additional funds in select cases. “The faculty is then expected to support the research with funding from external agencies after a stipulated period,” he said. “I see a positive growth in the number of industries visiting the institute in recent years, and about 30-40% of these results in some kind of collaboration,” added Atrey.

All the leading IITs are also part of projects launched by the Centre. “The Centre is now looking at releasing multi-institutional funding, where two or more IITs can collaborate with an industry, to make optimum use of their specialisations,” said Atrey.

A majority of the funding comes in these institutes through faculty research — from industries or government agencies — and considering the three larger IITs have more than 650 faculty members on their board, the funding they receive is bound to be higher than the rest, said a former director of one of the older IITs.

Ranking the IITs/ The IIT of first choice

Which IIT is considered the best?

The IITs preferred most
The courses preferred most

IIT-Bombay first choice for 44 out of top 50 rankers

Yogita Rao & Hemali Chhapia, The Times of India TNN | Jul 2, 2014

While 58 of the top 100 rankers joined IIT-B, the number has fallen a bit, compared to 67 in 2013.

MUMBAI: IIT-Bombay continues to be the top choice for the best of the young brains in the country. The institute has retained its position as the most sought-after IIT in the country, with Delhi and Chennai coming a distant second and third.

A number of factors have been responsible for this, ranging from importance given to streams over geography, from placement records to newer short-term courses on offer, tell students. Of the top 100 rankers in JEE-Advanced 2014, almost all have opted for IIT-B computer science as their first choice. But 58 were allotted seats at IIT-B in computer science in the first round, followed by Delhi, where 36 of the top 100 have been admitted (see c).

While 58 of the top 100 rankers joined IIT-B, the number has fallen a bit, compared to 67 in 2013. Thirty-six students were allotted seats at IIT-D, as opposed to last year's 29. IIT-B director Devang Khakhar said he was happy that 44 of the top 50 rankers have opted for the Powai institute. "Students may have placed more importance to the stream over the location and once seats in computer science were filled up, they looked at the other IITs," he said. IIT-B has 44 seats for computer science and engineering in the open category.

Of the top 10 rankers, nine have opted for computer science at IIT-B and the only female candidate in the top 10 ranks, Aditi, who got the seventh rank, chose to go for computer science at IIT-Delhi. Computer science was among the most popular choices at IIT-B and IIT-D followed by electrical engineering among the top 100 ranks. Only one signed up for a dual degree programme in computer science at IIT-D and the rest chose the flagship BTech programmes at IIT-B, IIT-D, IIT-M and IIT-K.

This year, the IIT-Madras zone, home to popular coaching hub Andhra Pradesh, cornered half the seats in the most elite club of the JEE (Advanced); 50 of the top 100 ranks were from the zone. But only four among the top 100 are headed for IIT-Madras, though up to 30% top rankers used to choose Chennai earlier. Food apparently is the reason behind the dip. "Students have often said IIT-M does not have the kind of food that Bombay or Delhi have. But all our students are good, whether they are in the top 100 or below," said an IIT-M dean.

Twenty years ago, IIT-Kharagpur was the engineering mecca but the oldest IIT did not receive a single student from the top 100 this year. Even the new kids on the block, IIT Roorkee and Guwahati haven't got a single student from the top slots. IIT-Guwahati senior officials attributed this to the low representation of students from the Northeast.

Graduate Employability Rankings: 2015

The Times of India, Nov 27 2015

Jhimli mukherjeepandey

IIT-Kgp grads most employable: Study

IIT Kharagpur was rated the most employable institute in the country by an international survey for higher educational institutions on Thursday . It is also the only other institute apart from IIT Bombay to make it to the top 100 of the global employability rankings.

Quacquarelli Symonds (QS), which released its first ever Graduate Employability Rankings on Thursday , placed IIT Kharagpur at 77 and IIT Bombay at 93. The other Indian institutes to figure on the list are IIT Madras (rank 119), IIT Delhi (160) and University of Delhi (175). The top five ranks were grabbed by Stanford University, MIT, Harvard University, University of Cambridge and Yale University .

With a score of 51.0, IIT Kharagpur rubs shoulders with the likes of University of Liverpool (score 53), University of Lancaster (52.9) and Pennsylvania State University (52).

IIT Kharagpur scored impressively in parameters like `graduate employability rate' and `employers' presence'.The fact that it managed the highest number of pre-placement offers for the 2015-16 session among all IITs drew the attention of QS. The survey also took into account the fact that it has the highest number of graduates among the IITs and on an average 1500 of its students get jobs every year with impressive compensation packages.

“The students of IIT Kgp are all talented. It is our in terdisciplinary approach and the compulsory indus trial internships that they go for which makes our stu dents ready for their new jobs,“ director P P Chakra borty told TOI on Thursday .

In its maiden project, the QS Graduate Employability Rankings survey analyzed over 44,000 responses from 1,239 universities. Experts took a year to conduct thor ough investigations before re aching their conclusions. The methodology included param eters like employer reputa tion, partnerships with em ployers, alumni outcomes employers' presence on cam pus and graduate employmen rate. The report was released at the Young Universities Fo rum in Melbourne.

2015, first choice: IIT Mumbai

The Times of India, Jul 08 2015

65 of 100 top students opt for IIT Bombay

Sixty-five of the top 100 rankers in JEE (Advanced) have picked seats in IIT Bombay , helping it retain its position as the most sought after campus ahead of 17 other premier IITs. IIT-Delhi, reports Yogita UP's Saroj brothers get colleges of choice, P 11 Rao, was the second choice with 30 students choosing it, a drop from 36 in 2015, followed by IIT-Madras and IITKanpur, who were at a distant third and fourth position with three and two students, respectively . More than one in four among the top 1,000 also chose the Mumbai campus. Sixty-five of the top 100 rankers of JEE (Advanced) 2016 have picked IIT-Bombay , helping it retain its position as the most sought-after campus ahead of 17 other premier Indian Institutes of Technology .

The figure from the first allotment round on Tuesday marked an increase over 2015, which saw 58 among the top 100 opting for the Powai institute. In fact, 2014 was the first time in years that fewer than 60 of the top 100 had picked Powai.

IIT-Delhi emerged as the second choice for aspirants, with 30 students choosing the campus, a drop from 36 in 2015. IIT-Madras and IITKanpur were a distant third and fourth, with three and two students, respectively .

Of the top 100 JEE (Advanced) rankers, 34 belonged to the IIT-Bombay zone and, therefore, the institute was an obvious choice. Interestingly , many of the 28 rankers from the IIT-Madras zone seem to have opted for IIT-B as only three chose the former.

“A majority of students perceive it as the top institute. At 18, most students make their choices based on what their friends and family would recommend. Computer science and engineering (CSE) and electrical engineering were the popular choices for students in the top ranks,“ said Devang Khakhar, IIT-B director.

The opening and closing ranks for CSE at IIT-B were 1 and 59, indicating that most in the top 60 have chosen the programme. At IIT-Delhi, it opened at 31 and closed at 102.At Kanpur it started at 26, and at 61 in Chennai. Admission o the electrical engineering programme in IIT-B opened at rank 9 and closed at 240. Elec rical and mechanical engi neering followed CSE as the sought-after courses at Powai and Delhi.

If the old favourites -Ma dras and Kanpur -have slid n the rankings, Kharagpur and the newer ones, Roorkee and Guwahati, have not man aged to get even a single student from the top ranks. IIT officials attributed this to the low representation of students from the northeast.

“Students' choices indicate that they do not pick institutes just for academics and campus life, but a lot of them are influenced by what is in store outside the campus too,“ said former IIT-Delhi director R K Shevgaonkar.

2016: IIT Bombay tops again

The Times of India, Jul 01 2016

Yogita Rao & Toyoja Upadhyay

IIT-Bombay got the cream of students in 2016 too, with 67 of the top 100 rankers choosing the Powai campus to pursue their BTech. In 2015, it was 65. IIT-Delhi retained its second position among the top choices of students, but toppers choosing the institute dropped from 30 to 28 in 2016. The remaining five candidates have chosen IITMadras. IIT-Kanpur, which usually gets two to three students from the top 100 ranks, was not the top preference for any of the 100 topper in 2016.

The Joint Seat Allocation Authority (JoSAA) released results of the first round of allotment of seats in IITs, NITs and other centrally-funded technological institutes.

IIT-Bombay and IIT-Delhi, though, are the top choices of students with higher ranks, while courses in IIT-Kharagpur and IIT-Madras have received more applications from the 33,500 students who registered for admissions in 2016. Each of the 1,341 seats at IIT-Kharagpur got 224 applications, while there were 221 contenders for each seat at Chennai. The contenders for every seat at IIT-Delhi and IIT-Bombay were 190 and 161respectively.

In the top 500, IIT-Kanpur was allotted to 56 students, a drop from 75 in 2015. Newer institutes like IIT-Hyderabad and Gandhinagar too got two and one student respectively from the top 500. Of the top 100, 37 belonged to the IIT-Bombay zone, and therefore the institute was an obvious choice for them. But the IITMadras zone, which had 30 students in the top 100, seemed to have chosen IIT-B too, as only five opted for the former.

The opening and closing ranks for computer science and engineering (CSE) at IIT-B was one and 60 respectively, indicating that most in the top 60 headed there. At IIT-Delhi the allotment in CSE started at 24 and closed at 111 rank.Admission to the electrical engineering programme in IIT-B opened at rank 9 and closed at 240. CSE was among the most popular choices at IIT-B and IIT-D, followed by electrical, mechanical and engineering physics. CSE, electrical, mechanical and civil engineering are the most popular among all IITs put together.

JEE (Advanced) organising chairman K V Krishna said students usually go by statistics of 2015, therefore there is hardly any change in admission trends.

2021, first choice: IIT Mumbai

Hemali Chhapia, Nov 6, 2021: The Times of India

The cream of the country’s young brains have picked IIT Bombay at the close of round one of admissions 2021-22, making it the most sought-after tech college, with Delhi and Madras a distant second and third. Nine of the top 10 rankers will pursue their BTech in computer science at IIT-B. Scroll the rank list further and 43 of the top 50 have followed suit and decided to pick the college over any other tech institute.

Of the top 100 JEE(A)-2021 rankholders who have been admitted to IITs this year, more than 50% or 58 preferred IIT-B over any other. This was followed by Delhi, where 32 of the top 100 have been admitted. Last year, 64 of the top 100 joined IIT-B and 33 IIT Delhi. A number of factors have been responsible for this — from geography to gastronomy and placement records to what coaching classes tell students.

At the close of round one of IIT admissions on October 31, a look at the options exercised by the top 1,000 students reveals Bombay, Delhi, Roorkee and Madras are the top choices, though Kanpur, Kharagpur and Hyderabad have a sizable representation.

“Most of our streams have attained new peaks. As soon as one branch closed and the next opened, students picked IIT Bombay over the others. This tells us that we are the preferred choice,” said IIT-B director Subhasis Chaudhuri.

Faculty at IIT-B say it is the quality of education, campus ambience, rigour and research that electrify its academic and social life. “Research and teaching at the IITs, especially the first-generation ones, is comparable at the undergraduate level. I feel it is the perception among students that makes them pick one institute over the other,” said JEE chairman at IIT Delhi Parag Singla.

Among the rest, Kanpur, Madras and Hyderabad have quite a few takers from the top 500. There are 23 IITs in all with 16,232 seats. Some IITs have lost sheen over the years though. This year, CS at IIT Kanpur opened at rank 100 to close at 213. Among younger institutes, rank 191 opted for IIT Hyderabad with CS closing there at 520.

Seats, number

5% increase in 2017

Somdatta Basu, From 2017, IITs to have 528 seats more, Oct 24 2016 : The Times of India

The Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) will implement a 5% increase in their total student intake from the next academic session.

The decision to increase the number of students -from 10,572 in the current academic session to 11,100 the next year -was taken at a recent meeting of the Joint Admission Board (JAB), which is the highest decision-making body of IITJEE (adanced). The meeting was attended by the chairpersons of all IITs.

While this increased number was to be absorbed by all 23 IITs, several of the older institutes said they wouldn't be able to immediately increase their intake with their current infrastructure. The country's premier engineering and tech scho ols have also decided to admit 10% more foreign students, over and above the total student strength.

“We are in no position to admit extra students despite the government wanting each IIT to increase intake,“ said a senior IIT-Kharagpur official.

“Even if we build accommodation, classrooms and other infrastructure from government funding, it takes many years to build world-class laboratories which offer state-of-the-art facilities,“ the official said.

Seats, allocation

2020: Bombay, followed by Delhi

Hemali Chhapia, October 20, 2020: The Times of India

The IITs preferred by The top 100 JEE rankers in 2020;
A graphic in an article published on October 20 erroneously stated that three of the top 500 JEE rankers have opted for IIT Roorkee. The correct figure is 33; one ‘3’ was inadvertently deleted.
From: Hemali Chhapia, October 20, 2020: The Times of India

The top 100 JEE rankers seem to have made two clear choices: IIT Bombay, where 61 of them or nearly 2/3rds blocked a seat, and IIT Delhi, which 30 others picked. Of the remaining nine, seven have signed up for IIT Madras while two, Chirag Falor (rank 1) and Muhender Raj (rank 4), have chosen to pursue education in the US.

At close of round one of admissions, a look at the options exercised by the top 100 rankers reveals that Kharagpur and Kanpur, once considered amongst the best IITs, have dropped in popularity. About 30 years ago, IIT-Kharagpur was the preeminent centre for engineering. The oldest of the IITs, it did not receive a single student from the top 100 this year.

If the net is widened to look at the top 500 or 1,000 students, again Bombay, Delhi, Madras make up the top three in the same order though Kanpur and Kharagpur have a sizeable representation in this club.

3 other IITs also on preference list

Apart from the two in the top 10 who opted out of IIT, two more — one between ranks 301 and 400 and another between ranks 401 and 500 — have declined a seat. Of the top 1,000, nine are pursuing other options. “Students, who are clear about streams they want to join, opt for an NIT or an IIIT if they don’t secure a place in any of the IITs for that particular branch,” said a JOSAA faculty.

“We know toppers opt for IIT Bombay because of the quality of education they get here. This is a melting pot, attracting students from across the country; the academic ambience, the rigour and the research make academic life here competitive and we see that since the last 8-10 years similar number of toppers come to our campus,” said IIT-B director Subhasis Chaudhari. IIT Delhi director Ramgopal Rao said, “It is difficult to tell why students make the choices they make, but many follow previous year trends.”

A former JEE chairman said, “While Bombay and Delhi were still building themselves, Kharagpur’s students had already occupied top positions in big firms. Students looked at Kharagpur’s illustrious alumni and rushed there. Now this has changed.” Among the rest, Roorkee, Guwahati and Hyderabad have also quite a few takers from the top 1,000. There are 23 IITs in all with roughly 16,000 seats. Hyderabad, which has launched a cutting-edge BTech programme in artificial intelligence and machine learning, is a relative newcomer in the top 1,000 matrix.

Student deaths


Ragu Raman, Dec 5, 2019 Times of India

Fifty students have died on IIT campuses in the last five years — most were suicides recorded as ‘death under suspicious circumstances’ by police.

IIT Guwahati tops the list with 14 deaths while IIT Madras and IIT Bombay saw seven deaths each, Union HRD minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank told Parliament in his reply to a question from N K Premachandran.

The Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP) MP had asked about the number of suspicious deaths at premier institutes in connection with the suicide of Fathima Latheef, a first-year MA student at IIT Madras, on November 8. The minister also stated that the MHRD had received representations from several MPS for an investigation into the suicide.

After a spike in suicides at IITs six years ago, the MHRD had formed a committee headed by IIT Kanpur former chairman M Anandakrishnan to probe the causes of the deaths. The committee found that many students are unable to cope with the academic pressure in IITs.

One of the important recommendations of the committee was to strengthen the counselling services for the students, Anandakrishnan told TOI. “Students with early warning signs should be identified and counselled. Students from vulnerable groups need to be protected,” he said.

The committee also suggested ‘relative grading’ be replaced with ‘absolute marks’ to reduce academic stress. “In our study, we found that most of the suicides have happened in the first 18 months. After getting appreciated everywhere for their academic achievements, they found it hard to cope with the fact their academic performance is ‘not good enough’,” says Dr Lakshmi Vijayakumar, founder of Sneha, a suicide prevention organisation and also part of the committee formed by MHRD. She said students from rural areas, those with poor language ability and poor social skills are the most vulnerable.

A committee formed by the HRD ministry to probe a spike in deaths found that many students were unable to cope with the academic pressure in IITs


2020- 2023 Feb

By Sneha Belcin, March 16, 2023: The New Indian Express

’’’ IIT suicides reveal toxic mix of academic pressure, official apathy and discrimination

Six students, three each from IITs and the NIT, died by suicide in 2023. Eight IIT students died by suicide in 2022, four in 2021 and three in 2020. Why has this been happening?

V Vaipu Pushpak Sree Sai, 20, a third-year B Tech student from IIT Madras, died by suicide on March 14 in his hostel room. This was the second such incident on the campus in one month. Stephen Sunny, an MS Research Scholar, had died by suicide on February 13. A day earlier, a first-year student Darshan Solanki had died by suicide on the IIT Mumbai campus. 

In December 2021, Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan had informed the Lok Sabha that 122 students of such institutes (including IITs, IIMs, NITs, NITIEs and Central Universities) had died by suicide during 2014-21. Six students, three each from IITs and the National Institute of Technology, died by suicide in 2023. Eight IIT students died by suicide in 2022, four in 2021 and three in 2020.

Why has this been happening?

“One of the main reasons students take this extreme decision is academic pressure. Some of it is self-inflicted but a good part of it comes from professors and the administration collectively turning a blind eye to a lot of things,” says Vikram*, a student at IIT. 

“For example, we have an 85% attendance rule. If you fail to meet this requirement, you have to repeat the course. It is challenging even for people with really good mental health. And professors are arbitrary in applying the rule. Some professors care, some don't and some calculate it to the decimal level. Some classes have QR codes that you have to scan to get your attendance marked, while in other classes at least you can put in proxy (ask someone to mark it for you),” Vikram tells The New Indian Express.  

Throwing light on academic life at IIT, Mritunjay Shukla, a fourth-year student in engineering design and data sciences, tells TNIE, “You come to IIT and after a seven-day orientation, your classes start and you have to get back to quizzes, midterms and exams.”

IIT Madras has an 'intense, high-pressure environment' where students are unhealthily competitive, says Vikram, adding, “If you take all the over-achievers from various schools and put them in one place, there are bound to be conflicts.” 

“IITs have a relative-grading system. There is no absolute grading, rather the professors decide the students’ ranks based on how the class has performed. One student’s CGPA is dependent on how the rest of the class performs. This leads to students competing with each other in unhealthy ways, like withholding notes. Some of my friends are in the Electrical Engineering (EE) Department and some of them are in Engineering Physics (EP). They had a common subject in EE and the students, collectively, did not tell the EP students where the class was. We don’t have the space to say we don't care because, at a certain level, we do have to care. I am glad I am not in any of these classes and I am in humanities. It is comparatively better than engineering,” Vikram says. 
 IIT administrations across India have set up counselling cells to help students deal with their mental health problems. However, these cells have not been functioning at their full capacity, say different sources. 

“The administration sets up counselling centres but it does not become accessible to students. Since there is a stigma about mental health problems among students, they have inhibitions in reaching out for help. Students get mocked by their peers if they talk about being depressed,” Shukla says. 

Criticising the IIT Madras administration’s negligence towards students’ mental health issues, Vikram says, “The counselling cell is a joke. We have three full-time counsellors for ten thousand students and people who have gone to them say that they don’t have caste and gender sensitization. Mental health support is non-existent inside the campus and expensive outside. I can survive and get the help I need because I have the privilege to do so. Not everyone in IIT Madras has that privilege.” 

Students, who don’t get the mental health assistance they need, often turn towards substance abuse, says IIT Guwahati alumnus Logesh. “Students reach out to the counsellors during the initial stage and when they find it to be fruitless, they turn towards substance abuse. There was rampant drug abuse on the Guwahati IIT campus,” he says. 

“Due to the combination of academic pressure and the administration’s indifference towards their issues, students resort to substance abuse. I know friends who have crippling anxiety issues and cannot afford to go outside to get it treated. They aren’t using it recreationally, but to self-medicate. Drug abuse is out of control at IIT Madras,” says Vikram. 

A statement issued by IIT Madras after the death of Vaipu Pushpak Sree Sai notes, “Post Covid has been a challenging environment and the Institute has been endeavouring to improve and sustain the well-being of the students/scholars, faculty and staff on campus while constantly evaluating the various support systems in place. A standing Institute Internal Inquiry Committee, including elected student representatives, which has been recently constituted will look into such incidents.”

Talking to TNIE about student suicides, C Lakshmanan, Associate Professor, MIDS, says, “Post-Covid, suicides are a phenomenon but they are a continuation of pre-Covid structural problems. Indian society has multiple structural problems, which might have been exaggerated by Covid but educational institutions neither in the past nor in the present realise their structural problems.” 

“An IIT campus can isolate you very easily. The culture inside the campus itself is very exclusive. Academia has its own problems and students with a strong social and economic background can cope with them easily, while others can’t. I come from a relatively secure background and I have had difficulties with the curriculum. I can only imagine what my peers from Tamil medium education had to go through,” says Logesh. 

Elaborating on the sociocultural environment on the campus, he says, “The college predominantly has an upper caste culture. The way students dress, the songs they listen to, the places they hang out at, how they greet each other, and what they joke about would be exclusive, making those from lower-middle-class economic backgrounds feel very alienated. Students who feel alienated would go join their linguistic groups. If they are from a Telugu-speaking background, they would find Telugu students. They go join Tamil students if they are Tamil.” 

Regionalism is prevalent among IIT students, especially when they vote during student elections, adds Shukla.

“IITs sell merchandise including T-shirts that say ‘born to be an IITian’, which I don’t understand. Doesn’t that imply people born in privileged castes have special rights to join IITs? Shouldn’t it be ‘studied to be an IITian?’ Becoming an IITian must be dependent on one’s education and not birth,” Logesh says.  

Expressing anguish over the isolation and discrimination that caused Solanki’s death, Ambedkar Periyar Phule Study Circle (APPSC), IIT Bombay, tweeted in February this year, “How many more Darshans and Anikets need to die? Our statement on the institutional murder of Darshan Solanki. We owe a collective responsibility towards the family of the deceased. As a society, as an institution, what do we celebrate and what do we marginalize?”

According to the data presented by the Education Minister, of the 122 students who died by suicide from 2014-21, 58% were from OBC, SC, ST and minority communities. Elaborating on caste discrimination on the IIT Madras campus, Vikram says, “Hypothetically, you have spheres like cultural programmes that are supposed to relieve stress. But, it does not exist in reality. For example, Saarang, our annual cultural fest, has sponsorship and public relations teams. These teams are considered to be very coveted and if you looked at the members of these teams you would see all of them having the same upper-caste, extremely wealthy, tier-one city and urban background.” 

“The interview process to get into these teams is not explicitly casteist, but you have to pass the so-called ‘vibe check’. The vibe check is being able to speak English fluently, rapidly, and idiomatically, fitting in with the tier-1 city expectations. If you don't pass the vibe check, no matter how good your ideas might be, you will not make it to the team. And there is a specific word that they use -  which is common in IIT Madras - ‘chhapri’. It is supposed to mean 'very tacky' and refers to people from tier 2 cities who don't speak English very well,” he adds. 

Talking to TNIE about casteism in educational institutions, anti-caste writer, scholar and rapper Sumeet Samos says, “One of the major causes for suicides in IITs in India is the numerical majority of upper caste students amidst whom Dalit students feel isolated. This happens mainly because of the lack of sensitisation of upper caste students as well as the lack of support systems for Dalit students. They end up feeling less, inferior, under confident navigating such spaces. To think of a solution would be difficult but a starting point should be introducing mandatory courses on caste sensitisation and providing secure spaces for Dalit students to express themselves to any grievance cells aimed at them.”

Educational institutions should reflect ground reality and since Indian society is heterogeneous, multicultural, multiregional, multilingual and multidimensional, that has to be reflected in the admissions of students and appointments of staff and faculty, says Lakshmanan.
“Elite institutions like IITs and IIMs should realise the existing structural inequalities. There are umpteen committees, reports and recommendations that already exist. For example, former University Grants Commission (UGC) Chairman Prof S K Thorat’s committee examined suicides in educational institutions and recommended measures. But, we don’t know if IITs considered these recommendations and made any changes to their existing system,” he says. 

Pointing out the administration’s neglect towards student deaths, Vikram says, “They send us the same template of emails when they have to inform us of a student’s suicide, which is really dehumanising. Suicides in IITs have become normal. One suicide is one too many. One of the students in our department, Fatima Lateef, lost her life by committing suicide. It has been four years and we are still recovering from it.” 

Emphasizing that political parties also have a role in bringing about a solution to student deaths in educational institutions, Lakshmanan says, “Political parties are the policymakers in a democracy but I don’t see any party talking about student deaths that are happening all over the country.” 

Vacant seats


Vacant seats at IITs touch a 4-yr high, August 2, 2017: The Times of India

121 Spots At 23 Elite Institutes Go Unfilled Despite Seven Rounds Of Admission

Vacancies across the IITs have touched a fouryear high. A total of 121spots went unfilled despite seven rounds of admission.

The 23 IITs have a total of 10,962 seats and 121 of them remained vacant after completion of the counselling for admission. The number of vacant seats was 96 last year, 50 in 2015 and three in 2014.

IIT-BHU, Varanasi had the maximum number of empty seats -32 -followed by IIT-Dhanbad (Indian School of Mines) with 23 vacancies, IIT-Jammu (13) and IIT-Kharagpur (9).

Last year too, the trend was similar with IIT-Varanasi having the highest unfilled seats (38), and IIT Dhanbad also having 23 vacancies in 2016.

Over the last four years, all seats were snapped up at IIT-Kanpur and IIT-Hyderabad. Joining them this year is IIT-Jodhpur which also does not have any unfilled seats. Last year, merely one seat was vacant at IIT Jodhpur. In 2017, a seat each is vacant at IIT-Bombay , IIT-Madras, IIT-Palakkad, IIT-Ro par and IIT-Goa.

Until a few years ago, IITs did not conduct a second round of admissions and unfilled seats used to be transferred to the preparatory programme, a bridge course to bring quota students up to the mark. In 2008, TOI had cam paigned that IITs conduct multiple rounds of admission to fill up colleges' capacity. It was after this that IITs started conducting second round of admissions, and as a result the number of vacancies fell since 2009.

In 2017, the last round of counselling was held on July 19. All the IITs completed admissions by July 25. An IIT Council official said the institutes had been asked to discontinue some of the courses that were not attracting students. The IIT Joint Admission Board is likely to meet soon to discuss such courses and take a decision on steps to bring down the number of vacancies. The IITs, especially the new ones, increased their intake by 400 seats this year.


14% quota for girls from 2018

Manash Gohain, IITs earmark 14% special quota for girls from 2018 , April 16, 2017: The Times of India 

`Move Will Check Gender Imbalance’

In order to arrest the decline of women candidates at the premier engineering institutions of the country, the Indian Institutes of Technology have decided to admit more women from the 2018 academic session. The decision was taken at the Joint Admission Board (JAB) of the IITs on Saturday . The board approved a quota of supernumerary (over and above the actual intake) seats for women in a phased manner, reaching up to 20% by 2026.

Around 8.8% women were admitted to IITs in 2014, and the figure went up to 9% in 2015, but in 2016 it came down to 8%. Concerned by the slump in number of female students entering IITs, the JAB set up a panel under the chairmanship of professor Timothy Gonsalves to find ways to rectify the situation in the institutes.

“The supernumerary quota has been created to combat gender imbalance.Already the number of female aspirants taking the entrance is less. Even if they don't qualify under general category , women will be admitted through the supernumerary quota,“ said a member of the JAB. The 20% supernumerary seats -which will be implemented in a phased manner -will be filled by women candidates who have qualified Joint Engineering Entrance (Advanced). Also, they should be in the top 20 percentile in their respective board exams,“ said a senior official of the ministry of human resource development, who was present in the meeting.

This will however not affect the existing number of seats for male candidates as the supernumerary seats will be additional seats reserved for female candidates.

At present only 8% of IIT students are women. The IIMs too witnessed a three-year low of gender diversity in 2016 despite ongoing efforts.

The supernumerary quota will start at 14% from 2018.It has also been decided that seats vacated by women will be filled by other women.

“We expect increased interest among female candidates following this reservation,“ said the HRD official.

The committee has also recommended long-term measures to be taken at the school level so that more girls take JEE (Advanced). There has been a two percentage point dip in the number of girls who cleared JEE (Advanced) in 2016 as compared to 2015. “This is because girls are not encouraged to have extra coaching and that is one of the reason why even those who are interested could not qualify,“ said another HRD official.

2018: only 14 girls in top 500

Hemali Chhapia, Only 14 girls in top 500 of JEE (Adv), 46 in top 1,000, June 25, 2018: The Times of India


At least 8% more seats (800 in all) will be added to IITs this year to accommodate more girls

Female candidates are eligible for a seat from the female-only pool as well as the gender-neutral pool of a program

A female candidate will compete for a seat in the gender-neutral pool only if she fails to get a seat from the female-only pool

Only 14 girls in top 500 of JEE (Adv), 46 in top 1,000

A mere fourteen girls have made the cut to the top 500 ranks of the IIT JEE Advanced exam, underscoring the gender divide in technical education at the elite IITs. The number of females rises to just 46 even when the list is expanded to the top 1,000 scorers (there were 68 girls on that list last year).

However, under the HRD ministry's gender diversity plan, at least 8% more seats (800 in all) will be added to IITs this year to accommodate more girls, thus enhancing female representation in popular streams like computer science and electrical engineering. The seven older IITs will have 3% girls in computer science with the female-only seats.

Data from IIT-Kanpur shows 3,000-odd girls have been shortlisted by the Joint Admission Board from the top 24,500 ranks. Among the top 5,000 students, there are 410 girls, and in the top 10,000 ranks of the common rank list, there are 935 of them. Excluding the girls-only quota, the 23 IITs have 11,279 seats; the number of girls in the top 12,000 are about 1,202.

A JEE chairman pointed out that mandatory reservation and addition of seats for girls was to ensure "14% girls in every programme".

According to the IITs, female candidates are eligible for a seat from the female-only pool as well as the gender-neutral pool of a program. A female candidate will compete for a seat in the gender-neutral pool only if she fails to get a seat from the female-only pool.

"But if you see the number of female candidates in the top ranks, they are very few and most will opt for the female-only pool to get into a popular course and a better institute," said a faculty member from IIT Bombay.

Under business rules set by the IIT for seat allocation, the 800-odd seats for females will also follow reservation norms. For example, consider an OBC-NCL female candidate with a general rank. She will be first considered for a seat from the female-only pool of general seats followed by the gender-neutral pool of general seats for that program. If she does not make it, she will be eligible under the OBC category.

Several attempts have been made in the past to ensure a larger share of girls at the IITs. Even the admission form's cost was reduced on the C N R Rao committee's recommendations. But that did not boost the numbers.

Next year, according to the decision of the Joint Admission Board, more seats would be added to ensure that girls constitute 17% of total students. By 2020, the ministry aims to increase percentage of girl students at IITs to 20.

See also

Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) for IITs

There also are pages on individual IITs, e.g.

Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay

Indian Institute of Technology, Madras

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