IITs to become Primary Research Hubs in the country

What better institution in India to be transformed to research hubs, than the IITs.

Thinking on the similar lines, the HRD ministry has set up a committee to prepare a roadmap for the implementation of IIT reforms suggested by a panel headed by Anil Kakodkar. Notably, Anil Kakodkar headed an earlier committee, known as the Anil Kakodkar committee, which recommended sweeping reforms for the IITs.

The new committee headed by Dr. Kakodkar himself and consisting of Ashok Jhunjhunwala of IIT-Madras, chairperson of standing committee of IITs; Devang Khakhar, director of IIT, Bombay; R K Shevgaonkar, director of IIT-Delhi and one more IIT director to be co-opted later, will prepare a comprehensive report on a wide range of issues. The idea of constituting the new committee is to act as a link between the ministry and IITs – acting as an interlocutor between the IITs and the law makers, where and when the recommendations by the committee will need legislative approval.

The committee is expected to table its report in the next six months. The report will be considering the issues like change in the administrative and fee structure, IITs’ signing annual memorandum of understanding with HRD ministry and financial autonomy would need government intervention.

Notably, most of the Kakodkar committee report recommendations are acceptable to the IIT Council; which include the branding of IITs as primary research institutes in the country; which will increase the number of PhD students in IITs from less than 1, 000 students at present to 10,000 PhD graduates by 2020-25. The committee also recommends to increase the number of IITs in the country from 15 to 20 by the same time.

Other key recommendations include, setting up of research parks at each IIT similar to the one in IIT Madras.

The committee suggested that the government should give an outlay of Rs 1.5 lakh per student to the old IITs, and an endowment grant of Rs 50 crore for each new IIT. The government was asked to provide capital funds at Rs 20 lakh per additional student.

The Committee also recommended that the HRD ministry pay the full operating cost of education along with a scholarship for all post-graduate – PhD, MS and MTech – and undergraduate students from reserved category and economically weaker sections.