NEW DELHI: A recently launched scheme that the Narendra Modi government had projected as a way to prevent brain drain from the prestigious Indian Institutes of Technology has few takers from the country’s top technical institutions.
As the applications received from the flagship Prime Minister’s Research Fellowship are now being scrutinised for approval, it has turned out that less than 25 per cent of the total students belong to IITs and the maximum number of applications have been received from the National Institutes of Technology.
After first announcing it in the Union budget the government had launched the fellowship scheme for PhDs at IITs and Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore offering “lucrative” stipend.
Under the scheme, the Union human resource ministry had invited application from the engineering graduates from IITs, IISc, NITs, Indian Institute of Information Technology and Indian Institutes of Science Research and Education .
A total of 3209 applications have been received from 1189 students but only 317 are from IITs and IISc.
“Data show that in the first year not many from the IITs have shown much interest for the fellowships and a very few from IISc—have come forward,” an official in the ministry conceded. “We are hoping that things improve from the next year.”
The scheme promises up to Rs 80,000 stipend to about 1000 students apart from Rs 2 lakh annual research grant and wanted students to come up with research idea in subjects with clear deliverables and outcomes.
It also made it clear that only those students who have the Cumulative Grade Point Average upward of 8 will be considered.
While announcing the scheme, the government functionaries had stressed that as every year about 20 per cent brightest minds from premium engineering and technology institutes leave country either for jobs or higher studies this scheme should put a brake on that practice.
The figures, however, clearly show that not many in India’s premier engineering institutes have taken it so enthusiastically.
“About 1000 fellowships are on offer but only 1889 students applying for them is a disappointing number,” conceded an official in IIT, Hyderabad which is processing the applications before finally publishing the list of projects approved later this month. “Possibly only about 500-600 projects will be approved this year.”
Teacher at IITs however had an explanation.
“The fact is that IITs are best regarded for B Tech programmes and the best of the minds prefer going abroad for PhDs for better exposure and academic research,” said a professor at IIT, Bombay. “Also those who want to pursue studies and not take up high paying jobs, money is not a very important criterion.”
- Total number of students who applied: 1889
- Total number of applications received (project wise): 3209
- Institutes from where students have applied
- Top streams in which the projects have been proposed: Electrical engineering, inter-disciplinary projects, chemical engineering, civil engineering, computer sciences, metallurgical engineering.