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There is an increase in the number of seats at IITs this year, from 10,988 last year to 11,279, as a result of an HRD ministry directive to allocate 14 per cent supernumerary seats for girls.

New Delhi: The Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) will hold special counseling sessions to ensure no seats are left vacant during the admission exercise for session 2018-2022.

The Joint Admission Board, which manages seat allocation for the 23 IITs, has also decided against changing the cut-off for the Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) Advanced, despite the number of qualifiers hitting a seven-year low this year. The results for JEE Advanced 2018 were released Sunday.

The low number of successful candidates had caused worry in the HRD ministry, which has a lot of investment at stake for each IIT seat. The ministry urged the institutes to take action, and an emergency meeting of the JAB was convened Wednesday.

Of the 1.6 lakh students who appeared for JEE Advanced on 20 May, only 18,138 — or 11.7 per cent — qualified. This is a massive drop over the figure for last year, which saw 50,455 of 1,59,540 examinees — or roughly 32 per cent — qualify the exam.

“I alerted the IITs to see to it that seats do not go vacant because the government spends a lot of money for each of these seats,” HRD minister Prakash Javadekar said. “This, however, should not be a problem because we have mostly been able to fill up all seats.”

Special counseling

There is an increase in the number of seats at IITs this year, from 10,988 last year to 11,279, as a result of an HRD ministry directive to allocate 14 per cent supernumerary seats for girls.

The special sessions planned will be held at the end of regular counselling, with the focus being on admitting girl students.

“Filling up of seats will happen the way it has been happening. After the end of regular sessions, we will have a special session where we will try to fill up seats that are still vacant, if any,” said an official who attended the JAB meeting. “We will call candidates and their parents during these sessions and counsel them. The job is to make sure that all seats are filled up,” the official added.

Talking about the decision against lowering the cut-off, the official said such a move would have hurt students’ trust.

The final allocation of seats will be done by 29 June.

For better options

Though the number of qualifiers is 1.6 times the number of seats on offer, there have been fears that a lot of students eligible for newer IITs might opt for better options, including private colleges.

Students who don’t find a spot in an IIT of their choice usually opt for National Institutes of Technology (NITs), which admit students based on the all-India ranks for JEE (Main).

IIT-Kanpur, which organised JEE Advanced this year, attributed the dip in the number of qualifiers to error-free checking and the fact that grace marks were not awarded.

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