Indian Institute of Technology Madras
100% fee waiver for SC/ST, OBC, physically disabled in IIT: Smriti Irani Picture: Indian Institute of Technology Madras.Creative Commons/Tamil Goose

The Ashok Mishra-headed Standing Committee of Indian Institute of Technology Council (SCIC), a group comprising of IIT directors and senior officials, has approved a threefold hike in annual fees, reported the Press Trust of India.

The total annual fee would stand at Rs 3 lakh per annum from the existing Rs 90,000, after Education Minister Smriti Irani gives the final nod, it said. The minister is the head of the IIT Council, the nodal agency for IITs.

The committee has also suggested postponing the new-pattern entrance exam to 2017, while allowing admission tests to be held in eight other countries to attract the best of foreign students, added the news agency.

These proposals also await the minister's approval.

The Times of India reported the committee studied the average cost per student, and felt 60 percent of it needs to be borne by students themselves.

SCIC chairman Mishra was quoted by TOI as saying: "On an average, it costs a bit over Rs 5 lakh a year to educate one student at an IIT. But while we approve the increase in fees, we also want to assure students that there will be scholarships and loans and the IIT gates will be open to all, irrespective of their means."

A subcommittee headed by IIT Bombay Director Devang Khakkar had proposed the threefold fee hike along with a recommendation for multiple source of financing for the IITs. However, the SCIC stressed for an interest-free collateral-free education loan under the Vidyalakshmi scheme for every student.

If the IIT Council accepts the recommendations, the fees of foreign students would also be increased to $10,000 from the existing $4,000.

PTI reported the applicability of the fee-hike proposal to include postgraduate students, who study on a fellowship basis, is being considered.

National Testing Service

With regard to the new entrance examination, the SCIC approved the recommendation of another subcommittee for aptitude tests to be conducted by a national testing service provider like the National Authority of Test (NAT). Based on the performance at this level, candidates would be shortlisted for taking the JEE (Advanced) for entry to IITs, added PTI.

The SCIC has also approved a slew of other proposals, from postponing the new-pattern test to the next academic year beginning 2017 to reduce aspirants' dependence on coaching institutes.

PTI quoted the source as saying the committee desired government-sponsored coaching by best-quality teachers through online platforms. It added that such an effort would reduce the need for private tuitions the candidates often seek.

TOI, citing a source in the education ministry, said such a quantum of increase might not get the government's approval, and a middle path needs to be found.

Bhaskar Ramamurthi, director, IIT Madras, told TOI: "The standing committee does not take decisions. We only prepare agenda for the IIT Council."