The low number of candidates who initially qualified the exam had worried the HRD ministry, which has a lot of investment at stake for each IIT seat.
New Delhi: The Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) issued Thursday a fresh merit list for the Joint Entrance Exam (JEE) Advanced, spelling fresh hope for thousands of more aspirants as the new cut-off took the number of qualifiers from 18,138 to 31,980.
The ministry of human resource development (HRD) had earlier directed IIT-Kanpur, which conducted JEE Advanced 2018, to issue a fresh merit list after the number of qualifiers dipped to a seven-year low this year.
The low number of successful candidates had worried the HRD ministry, which has a lot of investment at stake for each IIT seat. After the result was declared Sunday, the ministry had urged the institutes to take action. The Joint Admission Board (JAB), which manages seat allocation for the 23 IITs, was earlier opposed to the idea of lowering the cut-off.
Of the 1.6 lakh students who appeared for JEE Advanced on 20 May, only 18,138, or 11.7 per cent, had qualified. This was 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 had said at the time.
The JAB has also decided to hold special counseling sessions, at the end of the regular exercise, to fill up leftover seats, with the focus being on admitting girl students.
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.
“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.
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 out 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 attributed the dip in the number of qualifiers to error-free checking and the fact that grace marks were not awarded.