HRD Min has urged IITs, NITs to refund acceptance fee: Smriti Irani

Aug 05, 2015, 17:10 IST | PTI

New Delhi: In a major relief for students, IITs and NITs may refund the acceptance fee after deducting minimal processing charges in case a student does not get admission in a preferred course, government said in Lok Sabha today.

In this regard, the central government has made a request to the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) and National Institutes of Technology (NITs), HRD Minister Smriti Irani informed the House.

The Ministry has urged the IITs and NITs to "return the fee after taking minimalistic processing fee" to students who do not get admission for a preferred course, she said during the Question Hour.

The Minister's statement comes in the backdrop of simmering discontent among candidates who faced the prospects of forfeiting their tuition fee in this year's central counselling while giving up the allotted spots. As per existing rule, they have to pay a non-refundable seat acceptance fee of Rs 45,000 in general category and Rs 20,000 in SC/ST category.

For the first time, the counselling for IITs, NITs and other centrally-funded technical institutes were conducted by Joint Seat Allocation Authority. The Authority also held a meeting last Saturday to decide on an exit clause under which a candidate could give up their alloted seat for a better prospect in a different institute.

Interestingly, while responding to a supplementary query on whether academic pressure is causing suicide by IIT students, Irani asserted this was 'incorrect'.

Referring to the member, the Minister said his indication that "children in the IIT ecosystem and IIT family are committing suicides because they are unable to keep up with the pressure that the academic environment in the IIT has, is incorrect".

Irani also assured that any challenge that IIT students present to the faculty within the IIT ecosystem would be met in a supportive fashion. To another query, she said, "I had said that I contest the fact that there is no mechanism available within the IITs to address issues with regard to either academic stress" or that more problems are faced by children from weaker segments of society.

"I would like to firmly state here with all humility that to say that students do not take stress is not a statement that I made. I said that we have provided a mechanism that a student under stress within this eco system can approach and seek help and guidance from," Irani noted. She was responding to AIADMK member M Thambidurai, also the Deputy Speaker, who asked the Minister about the anomaly in the written and oral responses.

To a query about IIT Roorkee expelling 73 students last month for less academic scores, Irani said the IIT's action was challenged in court. The court had upheld IITs' right to ensure that academic performance, that the students themselves gave an undertaking to uphold, was met.

"IIT, Roorkee undertook an initiative to take these students back only if they yet again fulfill those academic standards that they gave an undertaking when they entered into the system," she noted.

AIADMK member P Sundaram asked her about the issue at IIT, Chennai where students were apparently prevented from enriching their knowledge through forums like Periyar-Ambedkar Study Circle.

In response, Irani said in the case of IIT Chennai, it is the institution, the Academic Executive Council and the Students Council which has elected representatives of student bodies within the institution, that set benchmarks for activities undertaken by any individual within that campus.

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