Minister-led IIT body may meet more often
Soucres say, HRD minister Ramesh Chandra Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’, in his first set of meetings with senior ministry officials, suggested that the IIT Council meeting just once a year seemed “inadequate”.Updated: Jun 07, 2019 07:17 IST
The human resource development (HRD) ministry is planning to suggest a tweak in the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Act so that the IIT Council can meet more frequently to ensure greater coordination between the premier institutions and the government, according to a person familiar with the matter.
The IIT Council, which meets once a year, is headed by the Union HRD minister and includes the chairmen and directors of IITs as well as top officials of regulators such as the University Grants Commission (UGC) and the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE).
According to the person cited above, who asked not to be named, new HRD minister Ramesh Chandra Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’, in his first set of meetings with senior ministry officials, suggested that the IIT Council meeting just once a year seemed “inadequate”.
“The issue came up in one of the review meetings taken by the new HRD minister. It was felt that it should be seen if there is a need to amend the IIT Act to provide for more frequent meetings of the council,” the person said.
According to an HRD ministry official, it was suggested that the council should meet at least twice a year. “This will provide for greater coordination, speedier resolution of pending issues, and also a better chance to share the best practices among these premier institutions which are at the forefront of research and innovation,” the official said.
Apart from top government functionaries and IIT and regulatory officials, the IIT Act also provides for nomination of three members of Parliament to the IIT Council. According to the act, the council coordinates the activities of all the institutions.
The council is further mandated to advise on matters relating to the duration of the courses, degrees and other academic distinctions to be conferred by the 23 IITs, admission standards, and other academic matters.
It is also expected to lay down policy regarding cadres, methods of recruitment, and conditions of service of employees, institution of scholarships and free ships, levying of fees, matters of common interest, and to examine the development plans of each institute.
When contacted, the director of one of the older IITs said, “The IITs are basically autonomous institutions which have their own board. However, we can meet to discuss common issues.” The director, however, said he was not yet aware of the proposal.
In his first set of reviews of the HRD ministry’s functioning, Pokhriyal also focused on the issue of large number of vacancies especially in institutions of higher education.
According to the first person cited above, another step the ministry is considering is putting in place a system of recruitment that fixes accountability on institutions which have too many vacancies.
“UGC may be asked to issue guidelines which have a provision of penalties for institutions which fail to fill vacant position for an unreasonably long period of time,” the second official confirmed.
First Published: Jun 07, 2019 07:17 IST