IITs seek Rs 22,000 crore from government to rise in global rankings

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New Delhi: The HRD Ministry’s ‘Project Vishwajeet’ — aimed at catapulting the IITs to the top league of global academic rankings — could cost the government close to Rs 22,000 crore over five years, according to an estimate by the premier engineering schools. Directors of seven IITs — Kharagpur, Kanpur, Mumbai, Delhi, Madras, Roorkee and Guwahati — met the ministry officials on October 20 and sought Rs 21,870 crore as investment to improve their research output, faculty, infrastructure and international outlook in order to break into the top 100 club of global university rankings by 2018 and top 50 by 2020.

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While IIT- Bombay’s presentation projected an investment of Rs 2,250 crore for five years, IIT- Delhi sought Rs 2,400 crore, IIT Kanpur asked for Rs 2,475 crore, IIT- Kharagpur Rs 3,700 crore, IIT-Madras Rs 2,800 crore, IIT Guwahati Rs 2,695 crore and IIT-Roorkee Rs 5,550 crore.

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Institute directors, who spoke to The Indian Express on condition of anonymity, said that the government felt the money sought was too much and advised the IITs to also explore alternate ways of raising funds. “The government is now studying our proposals and we haven’t heard back from them yet,” said an IIT director.

‘Project Vishwajeet’ was mooted by the HRD Ministry and, subsequently, passed by the IIT Council on August 24. This is part of the government’s push to build world-class educational institutions. It aims to focus on just the seven older IITs as they have been figuring regularly in the QS World University rankings and Times Higher Education rankings.

However, their positions on the overall global list aren’t very enviable. Five IITs made it to the QS rankings in 2015. (See box). Their poor performance in the academic reputation criterion, international faculty ratio and international student ratio criteria and institutional income criterion are what’s holding them back.