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The standing Committee of IIT Council (SCIC) has finally recommended the increase in IIT fee-to Rs 3 Lakh a year from Rs 90,000 starting from this academic session.
The final decision on the fee hike will, however, be made by the chairperson of the IIT Council: Human Resources Development Minister Smriti Irani. The fee was last increased in 2013, to Rs 90,000 a year from Rs 50,000. The IIT SCIC has also recommended to go ahead with a National Aptitude Test in 2017 to screen students ahead of the Joint Entrance Examination (JEE).
That apart, a JEE training course has been approved. The final decision on the aptitude test also rest with the chairperson With about 80,000 students at IITs, the total cost on salary and maintenance works out to around Rs 2,500 crore. The fee hike will be offset through a comprehensive student loan system that is proposed to come into effect almost the instant a student is granted admission.
The fee hike has been recommended by the IIT SCIC on the basis of a report of the Committee of IIT Directors that was set up by the IIT Council in October 2015. This committee — to draw up a roadmap to the financial autonomy of IITs — suggested that the IITs be allowed to increase fee so as to cover the entire cost of salary and maintenance for promising projects, research infrastructure and space maximization on campus. The NBFC has already got budgetary approval in the form of the Higher Education Financing Agency (HEFA).
IIT directors have for long been emphasizing on the need for a fee hike and greater financial autonomy to enable the institutes to grow and match global standards of research. In 201213, the Kakodkar committee — set up by former HRD Minister Kapil Sibal — had also recommended a number of models including zero government funding and fee hikes. The proposals, however, could never take off for various administrative and political reasons. Another committee of eminent people, set up in October 2015, had recommended changes in the entrance examination to IITs — the Joint Entrance Examination —recommending an aptitude test that would check the coaching industry effect and draw in talented students into the IIT system.
This committee had recommended a SATtype examination/aptitude test to select 4 lakh to 5 lakh students to appear for JEE. This aptitude test — preferably online — would have quantitative and qualitative portions and could be conducted several times a year.