World class Institutes to be set up in India

The following article is based on my own interpretation of the said events and/ or publicly available information. Any material borrowed from published and unpublished sources has been appropriately referenced. I will bear the sole responsibility for anything that is found to have been copied or misappropriated or misrepresented in the following post.

Bhavik Bajwa, MBA 2016-18, Vinod Gupta School of Management, IIT Kharagpur

The world class teaching and research institutes that were introduced in the 2016 budget received extensive feedback after their details were made public. The HRD ministry has finally announced the regulations regarding their set up in India after many rounds of discussion and debate with the PMO. One of the key changes is the decrease of the corpus fund requirement that has been decreased from 500 crores to 60 crores. The enrollment requirement has been reduced to 15,000 students and the faculty-student ratio will be maintained at 1:20. It has been projected that the faculty-student ratio will be improved to 1:10 in the five ten years. The institues will be governed by special regulations and will not come under the UGC guidelines.

These institutes will be called “Institutes of Eminence” of which 10 will be public and 10 will be private institutes. The HRD ministry will be able to take the proposal to Cabinet in April-May and notify them in June this year. Once cabinet approval comes through, an Empowered Experts Committee will be appointed to conduct the screening process for the aspiring institutes which will be able to apply within 90 days of notification.

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The Light that Burnt Out

The following article is based on my own interpretation of the said events and/ or publicly available information. Any material borrowed from published and unpublished sources has been appropriately referenced. I will bear the sole responsibility for anything that is found to have been copied or misappropriated or misrepresented in the following post.

Lekshmi P S, MBA 2016-18, Vinod Gupta School of Management, IIT Kharagpur


The whole nation was still discussing over the controversial Rohit Vemula’s death when far across the east, yet another light burnt out way too fast. A 3rd year civil engineering student at IIT Kharagpur, Lokesh Meena committed suicide by walking 20 kilometers from the campus and throwing himself before a moving train. When the former incident sparked protests and gained widespread media attention, the latter one remained within the newspaper columns and a few friends posting ‘RIP’ on his Facebook wall. Another less known suicide of an engineering student back in my state triggered many thoughts of mine.

Like always, the reports show alarming numbers when I searched for suicide rates in India. According to WHO, 17% of the suicides in the world happens in India, which has 17.5% of the world population. I initially believed that the biggest risk group to be rural farmers facing debt after poor harvests. However, a study – published in the Lancet medical journal on Friday – says suicide rates are highest in the 15-29 age group, peaking in southern regions that are considered richer and more developed with better education, social welfare and health care. The best explanation for why India’s elderly take it better when it comes to facing problems is how Indian tradition treats the elderly as an important part of family traditions. Their needs are widely recognized and addressed, and they enjoy a measure of respect by virtue of their age. Rising middle-class aspirations, parents’ unrealistic ambitions for their children, poor teaching standards in schools and a fiercely competitive college admissions race contribute towards the suicide of youngsters. Once they get into a college of their parents’ choice, the race never stops. From aims of being a topper in the class to bag the highest package in Placements haunt them. The students of India somehow seem to face the need to be accepted among his peers as well. The leads them into alcoholism and drug-related issues.

The counselling centers come into action at many places, but there are a large number of students who cannot be reached by these counselors. The best way to address this issue will be to ensure that the depression prevailing among the students is identified and the counselling is given at an early stage. There is no one like a friend who can address somebody’s personal issues. Likewise, only a professor can identify the academic issues of a student. So, let’s not just keep our eyes open for news related to suicides, let’s keep our heart and doors open to listen to that friend of ours, whatever be his/her issue. Let’s make sure that Education doesn’t ruin us. Let the lights in each of us burn longer.

Will IIT Kharagpur become an”Institute of Eminence”?

The following article is based on my own interpretation of the said events and/ or publicly available information. Any material borrowed from published and unpublished sources has been appropriately referenced. I will bear the sole responsibility for anything that is found to have been copied or misappropriated or misrepresented in the following post.

Shubhangini Rastogi, MBA 2016-18, Vinod Gupta School of Management, IIT Kharagpur


Finance minister Arun Jaitley had announced in the 2016 budget to enable regulatory architecture to 10 public and 10 private institutions to emerge as world-class teaching and research institutions.

HRD Ministry led by Mr Prakash Javadekar has finalized on the regulations to set up these `world class institutes’ deciding to name them as `Institutes of Eminence’.

There have been changes made to the requirements to be fulfilled to compete for the spot. The corpus amount requirement has been significantly brought down for private institutes from the originally proposed Rs 500 crore to just about Rs 60 crore. They have also pulled down enrollment requirements to 15,000 students from 20,000 and keep Faculty Student ratio at 1:20 from initial 1:10.The regulations also clearly say that UGC regulations will not be applicable in most part to these 20 institutes.

The changes to the Regulations have been made following the feedback the ministry received on them after they were put in the public domain.

It is expected that the HRD ministry will be able to take the proposal to Cabinet in April-May and notify them in June this year. Once Cabinet approval comes through, an Empowered Experts Committee will be appointed to conduct the screening process for the aspiring institutes which will be able to apply within 90 days of notification.

Now the question is : Will IIT Kharagpur make it to the much coveted list of Institutes of Eminence?

World Intellectual Property Day: The Kgp Connection

The following article is based on my own interpretation of the said events. Any material borrowed from published and unpublished sources has been appropriately referenced. I will bear the sole responsibility for anything that is found to have been copied or misappropriated or misrepresented in the following post.

Glen Savio Palmer, MBA 2015-17, Vinod Gupta School of Management, IIT Kharagpur

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World Intellectual Property Day is observed annually on 26 April. The event was established by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in 2000 to “raise awareness of how patents, copyright, trademarks and designs impact on daily life” and “to celebrate creativity, and the contribution made by creators and innovators to the development of societies across the globe”. This date was chosen because it coincides with the date on which the Convention Establishing the World Intellectual Property Organization entered into force in 1970. The theme for this year’s World IP Day is Digital Creativity: Culture Reimagined.

This day is observed in India as well by the Indian Intellectual Property Ofiice. The Indian Intellectual property office confers national intellectual property awards on outstanding innovators, organisations and companies in the fields of patents, designs, trademarks, and geographical indications on the occasion of World IP Day every year. Here is where the Kgp connection comes in!

IIT-Kharagpur has won an award by the Indian government for being the top academic institute for patents in 2016. According to a news report published in the Economic Times, IIT-Kgp director Partha Pratim Chakraborty said they have received a letter from the Union Ministry of Commerce and Industry saying the institute has been awarded the prize for ‘Top Academic Institute for Patents 2016’. The award will be given on April 26 in Delhi by Union minister Nirmala Sitharaman at a function jointly organised for the celebration of World IP Day by the Indian Intellectual Property office.

This recognition is a big shot in the arm for budding innovators here at IIT Kharagpur. It will surely ignite the fire within to work hard and reach an even higher number this year.

IIT fee hike: A move that will do more harm than good

The following article is based on my own interpretation of the said events. Any material borrowed from published and unpublished sources has been appropriately referenced. I will bear the sole responsibility for anything that is found to have been copied or misappropriated or misrepresented in the following post.

Imtiaz Ahmed, MBA 2015-17, Vinod Gupta School of Management, IIT Kharagpur


 

After months of speculation over the Government’s stance, whether or not it will raise the fee of IITs, the inevitable has finally happened. Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) has decided to hike the fee for undergraduate courses at IITs by more than double, from the current Rs 90,000 to Rs two lakh. Given that the Standing Committee of IIT Council (SCIC), the high-powered IIT panel all were recommending steep fee hikes, the decision to raise the fee was more about “when” than “if”. But many are a disappointed lot today. Their disappointment, however, is not without basis.

Over the years, the IITs have been facing severe competition from private institutions.  However, inherent brand advantage, good alumni network, and low fee helped IITs maintain supremacy over competitors. With a fee hike of about 122%, the IITs have lost that advantage. Its competitors have similar fee structure as that of IITs, but also, boast of better linkage with the private sector, more flexible decision-making, more updated course structure and less rigid rules on matters such as attendance.

A lot has been said to justify the fee hike but, the whole logic of recovering the money is flawed. Also, many of the IIT alumni have contributed to art, literature, politics, research and what not. They were able to do so because IIT provided them with an opportunity to interact with minds from diverse backgrounds; without burdening them with exorbitant fees, the repayment of which could take away their most creative, carefree and energetic period of life, their youth.

From an institute’s point of view, this hike was long due. The fee paid by students account for only 10-15% of the total expenditure incurred by the institute. It will increase to approximately 30-40% of the expenditure incurred after the hike, thus making the IITs less dependent on the government. The autonomy of the IITs is important as interference from the government causes unwanted disturbances in the functioning of one of the best technical institutes in the country. However, an abrupt fee hike of 122% is doing more bad than good.

All said and done, a raise of around Rs 1.25 – Rs 1.3 lakh per annum would have been a better move, with gradual hikes every few years. This sudden rise will deter the best minds from taking joining the IITs and also stop students from pursuing higher education as they will be burdened with loans of around Rs 10 lakh by the time they graduate.