Saturday, February 28, 2009

Finally, an IIT for Karnataka

Finally, an IIT for Karnataka

Planning commission agrees in principle to allow the prestigious institute in the state, but Bangalore may miss out on the privilege


After a long struggle, the state has finally managed to get the nod to set up an Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) of its own. Confirming the development, principal secretary, higher education, Srikant said, “It is true. The Commission has in principle agreed for the tech institute.”
Now, the State is waiting for an official communication from the HRD ministry which is expected to come soon. With this, the state is now on path to become the first in the country to house three prestigious institutes — an IIT, Indian Institute of Management (IIM) and Indian Institute of Science (IISc).
Bangalore, the Silicon Valley of India, however, may not get the privilege to house the institute. “We are yet to decide on the location. The issue will be discussed only after the official communication comes.” Sources said the Government may allocate the land either in Hassan or in North Karnataka.
An IIT has been a long pending demand from the state. Chief minister B S Yeddyurappa had personally sought the institute when he had met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in Delhi.
Karnataka had lost the IIT to neighbouring Andhra Pradesh last year. Though two stalwarts, space scientist Prof U R Rao and Dan David awardee Prof C N R Rao had urged the Union Government to set up an IIT in the state, the government’s lack of initiative played the spoilsport.
U N Rao, who was heading a committee during the prime ministership of H D Deve Gowda, had short listed three states — Karnataka, Rajasthan or Gujarat and Orissa or Madhya Pradesh — for setting up the premier institute. On the other hand, C N R Rao also recommended Karnataka’s name in the new IIT list.
However, in both the recommendations, Bangalore did not figure as the location. While U N Rao had suggested the twin-cities of Hubli-Dharwad as an ideal location, C N R Rao said Bangalore was already choked and hence the IIT should be set up either in Mysore or in North Karnataka. There were also reports that Deve Gowda camp was feverishly pitching for Hassan.
According to experts, IITs would provide linkages and support the neighbourhood industries besides helping students and faculty members. They will also help human resource development and quality research and solve the shortage of teachers and PhD holders to an extent.
An IIT is a centre of excellence of higher training, research and development in science, engineering and technology. The institute would be a deemed varsity with powers to decide its own academic policy, to conduct its own examinations and award degrees.
In 1946, Sir Jogendra Singh, a member of the viceroy’s executive council, department of education, health and agriculture, set up a committee for setting up higher technical institutions for postwar industrial development in India. The 22-member committee headed by N R Sarkar, in its report, recommended launching four higher technical institutions in the eastern, western, northern and southern regions, on the lines of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA, with a number of secondary institutions affiliated to it. The committee had felt that such institutes should not only produce undergraduates but should also engage in research, producing scholars and skilled teachers. The standard of the graduates should be at par with those from first class institutions abroad. They felt that the proportion of undergraduates and postgraduate students should be 2:1. According to the instructions, The first IIT was opened in May 1950 in Hijli, Kharagpur.
The seven
1. Delhi
2. Mumbai
3. Kharagpur
4. Kanpur
5. Roorkee
6. Guwahati
7. Chennai


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