In order to curb the number of vacant seats lying in IITs and NITs, the HRD Ministry seems to have accepted the recommendations from those institutes to remove the unpopular courses, conduct special rounds of counselling permitting candidates to register afresh, and levy penalty on students who do not join their chosen course, to address the problem of vacant seats.
Can't Give Up State Quota
The suggestion to allow the NITs to convert the state quota seats to general category in case they fall vacant despite repeated rounds of counselling was turned down by the government. Presently, all NITs reserve at least 50 per cent seats for candidates from the home state. These decisions, however, should be approved by Joint Admission Board and Joint Seat Allocation Authority.
Report on Vacant Seats
On February 3, a meeting was held within the ministry to discuss the report submitted by the three-member panel headed by IIT-Kharagpur director, set up to suggest measures to bring down vacant seats in the premier engineering schools.
In the last year, almost 3,000 seats across 23 IITs, 32 NITs and some centrally-funded technical institutions didn't find takers despite six rounds of joint counselling. Of these, 73 seats were vacant at the IITs and 1,518 at the NITs.
The proposal of the panel is that all the institutes participating in the joint seat allocation process may, after a thorough review of vacancies, employment opportunity, infrastructure requirement across different courses, revise the number of seats in each course and "if needed, some disciplines may be closed down and new areas introduced".
Accepting the recommendation, the ministry also decided that the institutes should also reduce the total number of seats according to their hostel facility, laboratory infrastructure, classrooms and faculty.
In the meeting, it was decided that the senate of each institute should conduct meetings in this regard as soon as possible and carry out this exercise latest by 31st March 2017.
The panel's suggestion to introduce penalty on students for not taking up the allotted seat was agreed with a conditional clause added to it. As per the ministry's decision, the IITs and NITs will conduct a total of six rounds of which first four will be treated as normal rounds with an option of withdrawal and the last two will be special rounds.
The first four rounds should be completed before July 25 and in the fifth and sixth rounds, all candidates will be allowed to register anew. However, those who do not join the course allotted during the special rounds will have to pay a bigger admission fee.
Inclusion of other Premier Institutes
It was also suggested that some of the premiere Institutions like BITs (Pilani, Hyderabad, Goa), NSIT - Delhi, DTU and Amrita University, among others may also be invited to join the joint counselling process. The ministry decided that the University Grants Commission should examine its rules and regulations to facilitate their participation.