New Delhi, Oct. 17: The Centre has shelved plans to legally recognise degrees offered by the five Indian Institutes of Science Education and Research and six new IITs in the Parliament session that began today, delaying a long-pending demand yet again.
The human resource development ministry had planned to introduce amendments to the IIT Act and the National Institute of Technology Act to recognise the degrees in this monsoon.
Top government officials, however, said the ministry would not table the amendments this session, expected to be the last one during the current Lok Sabhas tenure.
The law ministry, sources said, had not yet finalised the draft amendments because of minor differences with the HRD ministry over language.
The degrees offered by the five IISERs — premier institutes of science research set up at the recommendation of the Prime Ministers scientific advisory committee — are now not recognised officially.
Six new IITs, in addition to the existing seven, were launched this year and have started offering courses. Their degrees, too, are not recognised as BTech degrees yet — an amendment to the existing IIT Act is needed for the formal recognition.
The new institutes — for Rajasthan, Punjab, Patna, Bhubaneswar, Gandhinagar and Hyderabad — can now legally offer only diplomas.
The new IITs still have over three years time before they have to award their first set of degrees, since the first batch of students will graduate in 2012.
But the IISERs in Calcutta and Pune, started in 2006, have entered their third year and the institute in Mohali its second year. The IISERs in Bhopal and Thiruvananthapuram started this year. These science research institutes offer five-year, integrated courses.
Worried parents and students at the Pune and Calcutta institutes have been quizzing administrators about when the degrees will be recognised, officials said.
If the government has decided against introducing the bill to recognise the IISER degrees, it is a big blow to the hopes of hundreds of students, a top official at one of the IISERs said.
Nearly 650 students are studying at the five IISERs. Around 600 students have joined the six new IITs.