IITs to hike fees soon, says Arjun Singh

India's premier technical institutions, the Indian Institutes of Technology, could hike their fees soon, Union Human Resource Development Minister Arjun Singh told Parliament.

He told the Rajya Sabha that the Standing Committee of IIT Council (SCIC) has recommended increase in its tution fee for graduate and post-graduate courses.

However, he did not specify the amount of the fee hike being considered by the SCIC. Singh is chairperson of the IITs Council.

The SCIC had proposed a fee hike from Rs.25,000 to Rs.50,000 per year.

Despite doubling the fee, the IITs would still spend about Rs.150,000 on every student. According to an IIT Delhi official, the IIT spends almost Rs.200,000 a student every year.

The director of IIT Delhi, Professor Surendra Prasad, recently confirmed the hikes but said the government would take a final decision.

All the seven IITs had written to Arjun Singh pointing out the sorry state of affairs at the institutes, saying many of them were on the verge of bankruptcy.

The IITs have complained to the minister that they have not been allocated adequate funds in the annual budget for 2008-09. Instead, they said a huge share of the funds has been diverted to upcoming IITs in Bihar, Andhra Pradesh and Rajasthan.The seven IITs are in Kharagpur, Mumbai, (Bombay), Chennai (Madras), Kanpur, Delhi, Guwahati and Roorkee.

IIT Bombay had said that it did not have enough money to pay salaries to its staff. Some IITs have received notices from municipal agencies and electricity supply companies for failing to clear their bills.

Responding to a separate question, Minister of State for Human Resource Development D. Purandareswari denied there was any proposal before the government to set up an independent regulatory authority for higher education.

'The setting up of a regulatory body requires wide consultations with various agency. As of now the government has no plans for it,' she said.