Lok Sabha

July 25, 2016

Saugata Roy speaks in Lok Sabha on The Institutes of Technology (Amendment) Bill, 2016

Saugata Roy speaks in Lok Sabha on The Institutes of Technology (Amendment) Bill, 2016

Today, I speak on The Institutes of Technology (Amendment) Act, 1961. Firstly, I oppose the raising of the Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT) fees to Rs 2 lakh per year. It is totally against the common people, the common students. I speak from experience. Fifty-two years ago, I was admitted to IIT Kharagpur, which I left later. The fee was only Rs 20 per month, which means Rs 240 in a year. That’s why my parents could afford it. And now you are raising it to Rs 2 lakh a year. You are saying you will give loans and concessions. I think it is totally anti-people. Ask the IITs to reduce the fees immediately.

Secondly, I support the Bill otherwise for setting up new IITs in Tirupati, Jammu, Bhilai, Palakkad, Goa and Dharohar, and converting Indian School of Mines (ISM), Dhanbad to an IIT. But I want to ask the Hon’ble minister why he has allotted only Rs 230 crore for six IITs and Rs 100 crore for ISM. Why have you given so little money? Please clarify – how can IITs initiate developmental activities on this money?

Thirdly, Sir, I take this opportunity to pay my respect to Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru who first visualised the IIT. I pay my respect to Dr Bidhan Chandra Roy, Bengal’s former Chief Minister, who offered the Hijli jail in Kharagpur for setting up the IIT. He also got Gyan Chandra Ghosh, a famous Bengali chemist, to head the first IIT. Kudos to them.

IIT Kharagpur was a pioneer in the field and for the first time it started courses in naval architecture. aeronautical engineering and agricultural engineering which were not taught anywhere else in the country. Later, four more IITs were set up but all with foreign help. IIT Kanpur was set up with American help, IIT Madras with German help, IIT Delhi with British help.

Mr Prahlad Joshi mentioned that Narendra Modi ji is setting up IITs in every State. It’s not factually correct. The fact is that the decision of setting up eight IITs were taken earlier – IIT College of Engineering Technology in Delhi, IIT Guwahati, IIT Roorkee, IIT Bhubaneswar, IIT Gandhinagar, IIT Hyderabad, IIT Indore, IIT Jodhpur, IIT Mandi, IIT Patna, IIT Ropar and IIT-BHU were set up during the last plan.

So it is not factually correct to say that Narendra Modi has taken the initiative. It is a good idea that we must have an IIT in every State. We must give every State the benefit of the high-quality teaching and research that IITs provide to us. In the morning, in a reply to a question, you have correctly said that in spite of the very good work done by the IITs in the past, our IITs are no longer among the top 50 global educational institutes. IIT Bombay is between 351-400, and IIT Delhi, Kharagpur and Madras are between 401-500, while IIT Roorkee and IIT Guwahati are between 501-600. So this shows how far behind we are and the best IIT we have in the Asian rankings, IIT Bombay is at 54.

So we have to do something to really improve the IITs further. I hope that the Minister will accept that something needs to be done. My submission is that you should go for fresh collaboration with top American universities and British universities like Pandit Nehru did. It’s not against the interest of the nation. You should collaborate with the top institutes of America, Britain and China to improve the standards of the IITs, to reach international standards: we have not yet reached international standards. We must raise our level to their levels.

Lastly, I would like to mention a few points. We should find out why Dr Anil Kakodkar, one of our best nuclear scientists, resigned from the Board of Governors of IIT Bombay. We should persuade these people to come to these institutes.

A member was suggesting that there should be good industry-IIT interface. But my experience says industry does not contribute a single rupee to IITs. Rather, you should reach out to the alumni. The IIT alumni are forthcoming, especially those who are established abroad, in coming forward to donate money. Please approach them for getting money as well as cutting-edge technology. These days, only cutting-edge technology can survive in the highly competitive world.

Lastly I will end by saying one small thing. Mr. Javadekar, please think of what you can do to improve patriotism in the boys and girls from IIT. I am told that 80 per cent of the students of IIT Bombay go to America, and most of them do not return. We are spending government money. If the best products of our institutions go to America, we sell out brains to make our engineers cyber coolies in America, and then it is unfortunate for the country. Don’t do it the RSS way, let us put values in them so that they love the country and stay back.

Many new IITs have come up in recent years and are also doing well. But we must take initiatives to bring them up to the level of other IITs. The Minister, I hope, will announce a programme. The Central Government runs some of the best institutions like Indian Institutes of Management, Indian Institutes of Science Education and Research. They are good but not at par with international standards. All efforts should be made to prevent politicisation of their management and to see that the best talents get together to produce the best engineers and technologists found anywhere in this highly competitive world in which India is making a bid to sit at the high table.
With these words Sir, I support the Bill.