Many developing and developed nations are approaching the Indian government for setting up IIT campuses there at their own cost, Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said on Friday.
Asserting that the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) are earning global recognition, he said these are no longer just Indian Institutes of Technology but have become instruments of transformation.
Addressing the inaugural ceremony of the two-day research fair IInvenTiv at IIT-Delhi being collectively organised by 23 IITs, Pradhan said, "Many developing and developed nations are approaching the Indian government for setting up IIT campuses in their countries at their own cost. I feel proud that India's collective wisdom in experimenting with IITs is earning global recognition." Several IITs have been receiving requests from the Middle East and South Asian countries to set up campuses there. While IIT-Delhi is considering setting up a campus in the UAE, IIT-Madras is exploring options in Sri Lanka, Nepal, and Tanzania.
The Centre had earlier this year set up a 17-member committee headed by IIT Council standing committee chairperson Dr. K Radhakrishnan. The panel has recommended creating a generic system like IIT, NIT, or IISER, under which a series of institutes can be established as the current IIT Act does not have a provision for setting up an IIT outside the country.
The panel has recommended that offshore campuses of IITs may be named 'India International Institute of Technology and faculty members from the prestigious technology institutes here may be sent on deputation abroad.
While the IITs abroad may be free to decide the student strength, the percentage of Indian students in those institutes will have to be less than 20%, it said.
"We have to stop benchmarking IITs based on placement packages. IITs should redefine parameters and benchmark on the number of innovations brought into the market, innovations monetised, and the number of job creators created," Pradhan said.
Stressing that technology will drive the next phase of growth and development with Information Technology and communications technology among the frontrunners, the minister said the world today will invest more vigorously in India.
"India's talent, digital-first attitude, market size, emerging purchasing power and growing aspirations is a heady mix to take India forward at an unprecedented speed and scale. Our IITs should seize this opportunity, he added.
Pradhan highlighted that the Covid pandemic has shown what happens when technology-driven research commits itself to the service of the human race.
Citing the development of Indian vaccines within a short period to stress that it not only benefitted Indians but millions of people around the world, Pradhan told the conference, "It has all been possible because of brilliant minds like yours." These are the signs of an 'Aatmanirbhar Bharat', he noted, adding there is a need to encourage the relationship of Academic research and development, new-age technology, the industry and society, even more, to take research and innovation to the zenith so that no one is left behind.
Pradhan said in the 'Amrit Kaal', the 25 years identified by the government till the centenary of India's Independence, the country would be propelled by innovations at the grassroots level and it would seek the participation of all, especially the rural sector.
"IInvenTiv shall be the start of such a revolution and emerge as a key forum that will provide solutions to complex global problems," he stressed.