The Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) are seeking more government funds to make headway with Project Vishwajeet, which aims to help the country’s best engineering institutions to climb to the top league of global academic rankings.
Some established IITs have asked for upwards of Rs 1,500 crore over a five-year period for the project, announced a year ago but is yet to be formally launched.
Of the total of 23 IITs, only the seven old IITs are part of the Vishwajeet project.
The plan allocation — funds earmarked in the Union budget —to IITs, especially the old ones, had fallen over the past few years.
The government has raised the total allocation to IITs by Rs 2,468 crore to Rs 7,856 crore for fiscal 2017-18, said an official from the ministry of human resources development (MHRD).
IIT officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said they were aware of the small hike in government allocation, but were still waiting for an official confirmation. They want separate funds for Project Vishwajeet.
At IIT Bombay, the plan allocation for fiscal 2014-15 was Rs 200 crore, which dropped to Rs 157.5 crore last year. IIT Roorkee witnessed a 33% drop in funds over the past three years.
“Plan funds we received from MHRD have been decreasing significantly year on year for the past couple of years, almost by about Rs 20 crore per year,” an IIT Bombay official told Economic time in response to an email.
“There are some indications that apart from our regular budget, we will receive some funds under Project Vishwajeet initiative this year, but have not yet received a sanction letter,” the official added.
Other IITs are too not happy with the marginal rise in funds.
IIT Delhi received Rs 500 crore each in last two years from the government. It had asked for Rs 2,000 crore for the project
According to a senior official at IIT Delhi, though there is no official communication from the government, but
it seems there will be a 20% rise in funds this year”.
Project Vishwajeet seeks to improve the position of Indian educational institutions in global rankings such as QS and Times.