Candidates seeking admissions into centrally funded engineering institutions including IITs, NITs and IIITs will have to sit for a common entrance test decided by the councils of three most prestigious educational institutions in India from 2013.

Minister of Human Resource Development Kapil Sibal announced on Tuesday a common two-tier Joint Entrance Examination for admissions into the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), International Institutes of Information Technology (IIITs) and National Institutes of Technology (NITs). The new format will replace the IIT-JEE and AIEEE and will be effective the coming year onwards, the Press Trust of India said.

For admissions to IITs, the two-tier process takes into account class XII examinations which will be given 50 per cent weightage, while the remaining 50 percent will go towards the main entrance test.

Only 50,000 of the candidates who performed best will be permitted to write the advance tests held on the same day as the entrance test.

The IIT's Joint Admission Board will decide upon the nature of the advance paper and the entrance test will consist of multiple choice objective type questions.

While the main test shall be multiple choice type paper, the nature and modalities of the JEE advanced test shall be determined by the Joint Admission Board (JAB) of the IITs.

"The merit only in advanced examination will be considered for admission," Sibal said according to the news service.

For the rest of the institutions incluind NITs and IIITs, 40 per cent of the weightage will be given to board exams while the performance in JEE-Main and JEE - Advanced will account for 30 percent each. This system will likely be adopted by the IIT council by 2015.

Despite the IIT selection process being different, counseling and seat allotment will be common for all the institutes, an IIT director is reported to have said.

Sibal believed that by adopting the new format, several educational concerns such as discretion in institutes and coaching discrepancies will be addressed, and that the school results may improve.

The new format was disapproved by the IIT federation who opted for a separate selection criteria.

"There is lot of resistance from the IIT system. We have accepted. They have a point of view probably I don't understand much, but they have decided to move to the other system by 2015," Sibal said according to the report.

Aspiring candidates have also voiced their disapproval for the new format and citied the forthcoming rules as unfair and a cause for confusion.

"This is absolutely wrong. How can you select IIT students on the basis of Board results? The pattern and level of Board exams is entirely different," IIT aspirant Ramesh Chandra said on Quest Tutorials, an IIT coaching website.