Power to award MTech, PhD degrees now vested in IIITs

On July 26, the  Lok Sabha passed a bill vesting the power in Indian Institutes of Information Technology (IIITs) to award various degrees like M Tech and PhD, as issued by autonomous universities. Also, the bill granted power to award degrees to students to the Indian Institute of Information Technology Design and Manufacturing (IIITDM) in Kurnool (Andhra Pradesh). With the law coming into exercise,  IIITDM will be the fifth centrally-funded IIIT.

The passed bill proposed that law including  IIITDM, Kurnool in the main law Indian Institutes of Information Technology (IIIT) Act, 2014 and hence, it is now entitled to the status of “Institutions of National Importance“ on the IIITs.

During the day’s session, the central government’s role in appointing the chairman of the board of governors and the director to the 15 IIITs has been revoked.

The bill was first introduced during the Budget session in March by the HRD minister Prakash Javadekar. The minister, in reply to a debate over the bill, argued that the poor will not be affected by the fees, given the new measures included. In his argument, he also put forward that just like in all other centrally-funded institutions in the country, reservation law will apply to these institutes as well. He clarified, that expenses will be a summation of fees, research grants and projects. The minister informed, “There might be a slight increase for those who have the capacity to bear.But for the poor (students), there will be scholarships available.”

The classes at all 15 IIITs have already begun, including in Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Gujarat, Haryana and West Bengal. The first batch, 2013-14, will be graduating this year.

It is under the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act, 2014, that the government was obliged to set up the IIITDM at Kurnool. The first academic session at the institute began on 2015-16. It’s operational expenditure has been borne by the plan funds of the HRD ministry.

Moreover, in pursuit to upgrade the quality of higher education enough to let the nation’s university compete well at a global level, the minister proposed on Wednesday of giving flexible pay packages to faculty in the proposed 20 world-class universities to nurture talent. This proposal was following the Rajya Sabha deputy chairman P J Kurien’s comment that brilliant students either migrate to other countries or choose to become administrative officers provided that lack of infrastructure, proper remuneration and recognition.

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