Favouring Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (SCs/STs) the Central Government has asked all Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) to provide them more than two attempts to appear for Joint Entrance Exam (JEE). Presently all students are allowed only two attempts to appear for JEE. 'We have received a letter regarding this from Central Government. The Joint Admission Board (JAB) will take a look at the letter and examine what a provision like this will translate into. Even if we decide to implement the request, it will only be done for 2010,' said Gautam Barua, director of IIT-Guwahati. A few times back IIT-JEE was a two-tier test. Lakhs of students sat for the preliminary Test, following by the Mains. Aspirants could then attempt the exam any number of times.
The IIT-JEE came into its new avatar in 2006 after a review by C N R Rao, chairman of the Prime Minister's Scientific Advisory Committee. Rao found that most of students spend several years in coaching classes trying to crack the exam, without even realizing that they can do something better. 'Government is trying to mount pressure to allow SC/ST students to take the JEE more number of times,' said an IIT official. 'We have already 15% seats for SCs and 7.5% slots for STs in each stream of engineering. All these students are given relaxation in admission,' said an IIT director. The JAB will soon take a call on the government's note. But several old-time professors off-the-record conversations have regretted the political interference.