The Indian Institutes of Technology Council, headed by Human Resource Development Minister Prakash Javadekar, has decided to increase the number of seats at the varsities by almost 40% with an aim to enroll one lakh students by 2020, reported PTI. A government official said the plan is to increase the number of seats by 10,000 per year. The premier engineering institutes currently admit a total of about 72,000 students across various disciplines and levels.

The number of undergraduate seats in the 23 IITs will go up from 10,500 to 14,500 while those for post-graduate students will touch 14,000, reported Livemint. However, the seats will be increased in a phased manner, starting from the next academic session. The council, for the first time, will also relax hostel rules and allow post-graduate students to stay outside the campus.

Former Director of IIT Guwahati Gautam Barua, however, said infrastructural gaps need to be addressed before increasing the student intake. He also added that more teachers need to be recruited. Javadekar said that the council discussed the matter and came to consensus that the teacher-students ratio at IITs should be 1:10. At present, it varies between 1:12 and 1:15.

Among a slew of decisions taken, the premier engineering institutes will launch Prime Minister's Research Fellowships that will allow around 1,000 meritorious BTech students of IITs to take admission as research fellows. They will be paid a monthly stipend of nearly Rs 60,000. Javadekar said this will encourage students to take up research and reduce the “brain drain”.

The council also decided to introduce a five-week-long induction course to help new students adjust at the premier engineering institutes. According to PTI, the council has also approved the Vishwajeet scheme that will help IITs to secure top ranks globally.