With the Union Cabinet approving the Indian Institutes of Information Technology Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2020, five IIITs have been conferred with the Institute of National Importance (INI) status. Registered as societies under the Societies Registration Act of 1860, IIITs at Surat, Bhopal, Bhagalpur, Agartala and Raichur, will now be covered under the IIIT (Public-Private Partnership) Act, 2017.
Till now, these institutes were being headed by mentor director and officials working on deputation. With the new status conferred on the institute, there will be a formalisation of the posts of directors and registrars. The status will now allow these institutes to hire permanent faculty and offer degree programmes including BTech, MTech and PhD.
“Until now we functioned with contractual faculty and visiting professors from the mentor institutes including the IITs. With the tag, institutes are in the power to offer degrees and appoint permanent faculty. Consequently, we will be able to start courses in the new disciplines and offer MTech and PhD programmes,” said Arvind Choubey, director, IIIT Bhagalpur.
The institute currently offers BTech programmes in only three disciplines – Computer Science and Engineering (CSE), Electronics and Communication Engineering (ECE) and Mechatronics Engineering (MeE). “Now, we will be able to offer new programmes in other engineering branches including civil, chemical and aeronautical, among others,” added Choubey.
The five IIITs have been operating out of the campuses of other institutes since 2017, and do not have a campus of their own. IIIT Bhopal operates from the campus of Maulana Azad National Institute of Technology, Bhopal, whereas IIIT Agartala shares the space with NIT Barjala.
Similarly, IIIT Surat functions from the Sardar Vallabhbhai National Institute of Technology (SNVIT) campus. JS Bhat, director of IIIT Surat, said that the INI status will help in building independent infrastructure for the institute. “Unlike IITs and NITs, we do not receive funds for various activities, but the INI status will provide us with a one-time infrastructure fund. This will help us move out of infrastructural dependency,” said Bhat.
He added that the tag will also help attract better faculty and improve the institutes’ brand value among the students. “The functional autonomy will help in improving efficiency and quality. The INI status will allow us to offer central and state government scholarship to the deserving students.
Besides being a necessary recognition to award degrees, it will allow the institutes to make independent decisions without any interference from the political executives,” said Bhat.