The Union cabinet has approved six new Indian Institutes of Technology, at Tirupati, Palakkad, Dharwar, Goa, Bhilai and Jammu, and has also allowed for the Indian School of Mines in Dhanbad to be converted to an IIT. The cabinet met on Wednesday to give its ex post facto approval to amend the The Indian Institutes of Technology Act, 1961, to include the new institutes and bring ISM into the ambit of the act, PTI reported.

The cabinet also approved the setting up of a new National Institute of Technology in Andhra Pradesh, and introduced the National Institutes of Technology, Science Education and Research (Amendment) Bill, 2016 for inclusion of the new institute.

The IIT Act declares IITs as “institutions of national importance”. Currently, there are 16 of the institutes in the country, each an autonomous one linked to other IITs only by a common council that oversees its administration.