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Sunday, April 30, 2017

Council discusses fee waiver, suicides: No change in IIT fee structure this year - Indian Express

The discussion took place during a meeting of the IIT Council in Mumbai, chaired by Javadekar.
Written by Priyanka Sahoo | Mumbai | Updated: April 29, 2017 2:27 pm

                               Prakash Javadekar

The Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT) on Friday discussed the issue of replacing a fee waiver for economically backward students with interest-free loans. However, Union Human Resource Development Minister Prakash Javadekar directed the institutes to continue with their existing fee structure for a year.
The discussion took place during a meeting of the IIT Council in Mumbai, chaired by Javadekar.

The rising student suicides in IITs — three IIT Kharagpur students committed suicide this year— was also discussed. The minister expressed concern over the occurrences despite dedicated systems in place and instructed the IITs to conduct long-term orientation programmes for first-year students.
While currently first-year students are made to undergo a two-day orientation, the council has decided to hold orientations for longer duration to help them adjust to the pressure and adapt to cultural diversity.

“Several measures are already in place to help students cope with anxiety, depression and pressure. We have been increasingly hiring counsellors and psychiatrists. We are seeing suicides despite such measures. The institutes will have to contemplate better solutions,” said Gautam Biswas, Director, IIT Guwahati.

The council has decided to transform counselling centres on the campus into wellness centres to focus on holistic well-being of the students. This will also help eliminate the stigma around counselling centres, it said.

Javadekar, who is the chairman of the council, said a flurry of initiatives were introduced to convert all IITs into institutes of eminence. Each IIT will have to prepare a three-year action plan, a seven-year strategic plan and a 15-year long-term plan to realise this goal and the plans will be discussed in later meetings.

One of the reforms is to increase the number of women students in IITs — currently pegged at 8 per cent — to more than 20 per cent. “Supernumerary seats will be added to institutes as need be,” said Javadekar.

To curb the outflow of research scholars from the country, the council has proposed incentives for PhD scholars. Fourth-year engineering students with excellent academic record will be granted a scholarship of Rs 75,000 a month under the Prime Minister Scholarship Scheme for pursuing PhDs in IITs. The proposal will be tabled in the Union cabinet, said the minister.
Javadekar announced that the Centre will raise Rs 20,000 crore in three years to fund research in premier institutes including IITs.