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IIT test for common counselling

New Delhi, Jan. 3: The government has asked the Indian Institutes of Technology and the National Institutes of Technology to hold common counselling from this year to minimise seats going vacant at these engineering colleges.

But the 16 IITs, a notch above the 30 NITs in the pecking order, had defeated such a plan last year and are expected to oppose the latest Union human resource development ministry directive, too.

Over 600 seats had remained unoccupied in these tech schools last year, apparently because of separate counselling which allows a candidate to receive offers from an IIT and an NIT at the same time.

Such a candidate often hangs on to the coveted IIT seat while waiting to see whether he gets the subject of his choice in one of the NITs, which declare their merit lists a little later.

He thus blocks both seats and quits one only at the last moment, giving the institute hardly any time to fill it before the session begins.

Under the proposed common counselling, a student will receive an offer from only one institute, either an IIT or an NIT, at a time, higher education secretary Ashok Thakur told reporters today. If he rejects that offer, he may be given the option to join another institute.

“Common counselling will reduce the vacancy of seats,” Thakur said.

The 46 engineering schools were supposed to hold common counselling last year, too, and the software had been prepared. But the IITs backed out at the last moment and went ahead with their own counselling in June.

H.C. Gupta, former chairman for the IIT-JEE Advanced exam, said common counselling may not be feasible as the NITs hold their counselling a month after the IITs do.

“The IITs complete their counselling process by June 15 but the NITs wait till June 30 to get the board results, after which they can hold counselling,” Gupta said.

From last year, the IITs have been selecting students purely on the basis of their JEE-Advanced scores while the NITs have been doing so on the basis of the candidates’ JEE Main results and Class XII board marks.

“Our classes start by July 15. The IITs will be late to start their classes if common counselling is done,” Gupta said.

However, an NIT director alleged that the IITs consider themselves a bigger brand and feel that common counselling with the NITs would affect their brand image.

“The NITs too start their classes by July 25, just a few days after the IITs. This delay is not a big issue. This is a form of protectionism by the IITs,” the director said.

About 600 seats remained vacant in the NITs last year and a few in the IITs. In 2012, over 300 seats were wasted in the IITs and a similar number in the NITs.