The human resource development (HRD) ministry has proposed to review the retirement age of heads of higher educational institutions including directors of IITs, NITs, and vice chancellors of central universities from the existing 70 years to 65.
The move, in line with the NDA government’s objective of infusing young blood in academics, could lead to confrontation with the IITs and NITs which are governed by their own Acts of Parliament that empower their councils to take/ratify such decisions.
Both the IIT and NIT councils, which are the apex decision making bodies of these institutions, had approved raising the retirement age of their directors from 65 to 70 few years ago.
The IIT council in 2009 had raised the retirement age bar for directors to enable some of the directors who had turned 65 to serve their second term.
Former director of IIT Madras M S Ananth called the proposed HRD move unnecessary and said it will create a lot of uncertainty in the minds of the faculty of the premier technical institutions.
“The ministry should not impose its decisions on the IITs and let their council decide on their own. And even if it wants to decrease the retirement age of directors the matter should be discussed thoroughly in the IIT council,” he said.
The decisions if implemented could reduce the cut-off age for those applying for these positions from 60 to 55. As of now the applicants for IITs, NITs should preferably not be above the age of 60 so that in case of two five years terms they do not cross the age of 70.
While the government could face resistance from the IIT and NIT councils in implementing the said move, in case of central universities, the government can issue an order asking the universities to modify their statues.