India's cabinet formally approved eight new Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) to be set up across the country as world class engineering institutions at a total cost of INR.60.80 billion (US$1.5 billion).
A meeting of the cabinet, presided over by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, also approved the takeover of the Institute of Technology (IT)-Varanasi under the IIT system, which has won global praise for the quality of education it has been imparting for over four decades.
IT-Varanasi currently functions under the Banaras Hindu University (BHU).
“We will also consequently go ahead to get a formal approval for forming of societies and creating legal entities for the new IITs,”, said Finance Minister P. Chidambaram
He said the new IITs have been approved in Bihar, Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan, Orissa, Gujarat, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh.
Among them, six would start their academic sessions from July 23, while the other two – approved in Himachal Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh – were expected to start functioning from the 2009-10 academic year.
“The state governments have identified about 600 acres of land for the location of the new IITs. In case of Andhra Pradesh and Bihar, the government has accepted the sites recommended by the state governments,” the finance minister said.
“In the rest of the cases, the site selection committee will inspect the offered sites in due course and will give its recommendations to the ministry.”
The finance minister also said that the new IITs would be mentored by the existing ones.
In fact, three of the new IITs – in Rajasthan, Punjab and Orissa – will also start their temporary classes in the campuses of their mentor-institutes at Kanpur, New Delhi and Kharagpur, respectively, till such time their own facilities are put in place.
“With the creation of new IITs, high quality technical education will become accessible to more bright students, as now hardly two percent of about 300,000 students who appear in the joint entrance exam can get admission in them,” an official statement said