Friday, 19 August, 2022
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‘Institutes of national importance’ running without chairperson

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A majority of the nation’s IIITs don’t have a chairperson or a full-time director. 

Fifteen of the 18 Indian Institutes of Information Technology (IIITs) have no chairperson or a full-time director.

Nine IITs, including the six new ones, are functioning without a chairperson. As many as 10 NITs are yet to fill the chairperson’s post and 12 NITs have no directors either. In 10 NITs, directors have been asked to officiate as chairpersons as well. There is no full-time chairperson in four of the 20 IIMs either.

The human resource development ministry may have had two ministers in the past three years but that has not reduced the pending files. The ones related to appointments have been pending, in some cases for 600 days and more.

What makes the delays worse is that the appointments of chairpersons are only nomination based and do not involve a long-winding process. All the listed institutions are categorised as “Institutions of National Importance”.

Factor this: Files for nominating a chairperson for IIT-Gandhinagar, IIT-Jodhpur, and IIT-Indore have been pending in the ministry for over 500 days. The ministry has been sitting on files to appoint Visitor’s nominees in institutions for nearly two years. Typically, there are two Visitor’s nominees to each of these institutes.

IIT-Roorkee’s decision to appoint Dr Anil Kakodkar as its chairman is pending approval of the HRD minister for over a month after the President of India gave his approval.

In all these instances, it is usually the secretary, higher education department, under the HRD ministry who officiates as chairperson. Officials concede that even the ministry’s oversight cannot compensate for full-time chairpersons at these institutes.

Besides, there seems to be no hurry to appoint a new chairperson for the Indian Institute of Advanced Studies in Shimla — the current chairperson completed her term nearly two years ago and is on extension. The institute does not have a full-time director either since January 2017.

The HRD ministry said that all appointments are under process but could not explain the inordinate delay. It said that 15 IITs without a full-time chairperson or director were being run by directors of “mentor institutions concerned”.

“According to the IIT Act, the director is to be selected by the board of governors and sent for approval to Visitor. The secretary (higher education) is the chairman of the ‘society’ running the IITs and has been holding meetings as per requirement,” the ministry said in an emailed response to ThePrint.

The HRD ministry said that in case of the 10 NITs functioning without a chairperson, the directors are acting as chairpersons as well and that “the matter is engaging attention of the chairman of the Council of NITs”. The HRD minister is the chairman of the council.

The ministry said that for the 12 vacancies of directors at NITs, interviews will be held on 21 September.

Editor’s note: The copy erroneously said IITs in the first line of the copy instead of IIITs. The error is regretted

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  1. What to do they have shortage of legible candidates who were groomed through ABVP plat forum. That is the case with many of the Institutions, departments etc. One need to wait for Achae Din – New India which is projected and assured post 2022.

  2. There are other Institutes of national importance like NIPER. The six new NIPERs started decade ago and still have no campuses and regular staffs.

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