Published: 04th October 2019
We are serious students: More than 400 students protest against IIT's MTech course fee hike
The PSUs recruit at the exact same time as the IITs put out their merit list forcing the students to block the seats
More than 400 students thronged Jantar Mantar in the nation's capital on October 4 at 11 am to protest against the recent fee hike announced by the Ministry of Human Resource and Development (MHRD) for the Masters of Technology (MTech) programmes in IITs. The MHRD, in consultation with the Indian Institute of Technology (IITs), decided to bump course fees nine times at one go. They have also slashed the stipend the MTech students received, saying that they want only "serious students" to enrol. All India Engineering Student Council, who called for the protest will submit a memorandum to the MHRD with a list of their demands. But the fee hike is not the only thing they are outraged about.
Diptanshu Chowbey, one of the protesters, said that the imminent privatisation of the Public Sector Units is also a serious concern that they are protesting about. "The government has sold out huge chunks of PSUs like BSNL and NTPC to the private sector. Now, will these companies still hire like they used to? What will the employment scene be after this?" he asked. The protesters say that the IIT has flawed admission policies. When the IITs put out their GATE merit list and calls for admissions, the PSUs start recruiting at the same time, said the protesters.
The interviews go on even after the admission process of IITs are over and this lack of coordination among these government bodies compels the students to lock their seats in IITs in case they don’t get placed in any of the PSUs, said the students. "We are all serious about our studies. But I have loans to pay. The stipends are not enough for that," said one of the students.
The AIESC said that BE and BTech courses are costly in too and many students have to avail student loans to complete the course. This is an added burden that discourages most students from opting for MTech in IITs in the first place. "Rather they choose private institutes where they’ll get a stipend as AICTE said that they will continue to give stipend in private colleges. A stipend is a big motivation for students to perceive MTech and if the IIT Council talks about encouraging MTech programmes, this step will lead to the exact opposite of what they claim (sic)," tweeted the council.
A sudden hike like this is not at all accepted, said the AIESC. "Students lack clarity regarding their future due to the job crisis in the country. At the same time, such hike will be an excess burden on serious students which count to 50 percent of the total admitted students, which surely is a large number and government cannot be ignorant towards those who want to pursue their career through MTech," said the council. "The government seems to be in a hurry to increase fees but lacks clarity on enhancing the degraded quality of courses. Most of the non-sponsored courses are outdated and not getting placement opportunities," they added.
"There is uncontrolled mismanagement in the admission process as well," claimed the students. Many-a times it seems that two reputed IITs put their interview dates on the same day or so close that only air travel medium is a possible option, which cut short students' option of getting into IIT," said the protesters. "We demand a complete centralised structure for this process where the less privileged(those securing lower ranks) should not be deprived of any opportunity and by doing this seats of M Tech will be filled to a considerably larger number," they added.