After the first round of counselling and seat acceptance which ended at 5pm on Monday, the number of vacancies in the IITs was 397, the lowest in recent times. This year, 11,000 seats are up for grabs at the country’s most preferred engineering institute. In 2016, the number of vacant seats was 566 out of 10,572, while in 2015, 645 seats remained vacant after the first round of counselling.
“Even though the number of seats has increased considerably over the past few years and is at an all-time high, it is extremely encouraging to find that the number of vacancies has gone down. This shows that there is a renewed interest to opt for engineering courses in the IITs,” said Pallab Banerji, IIT-JEE chairperson at the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur.
“Vacancies in premier institutes are always linked with the demand. The placements may have had an effect on bringing down the vacancies after the first round of counselling,” he added.
Several reasons are being put forward by the faculty members. Foremost among them is the rise in the number of seat acceptance at the three new IITs which started operations from the last academic year. “Last year, there were more vacancies in the IITs at Jammu, Goa and Dharwad. This year there are only 22 vacancies at the three institutes,” said an IIT-JEE official. “It seems that more students have found confidence to take up seats in these newer IITs along with the established ones. As a result, they can fulfil the regional aspirations. The local students may have opted for those seats,” the official added.
Experts are pointing out that some IITs may have discontinued a few non-popular courses which were not finding too many takers, leading to a reduction in vacancy this year.
“The JEE-Advanced committee set up a helpline for selected girl candidates. It helped girls aim for IIT seats more confidently,” said Banerji. “We hope to end up filling all the seats by the end of the seventh round of counselling. This year, the Joint Seat Allocation Authority has decided to do an extra round,” he added.
Last year, too, the IITs could fill up all the seats after six rounds of counselling. “Yet, 73 seats had remained vacant. These students may have taken up courses in other institutes even after keeping their IIT seats occupied. This year, with an additional round of counselling, hopefully, we may end up filling up all the seats. The government spends almost Rs 3.4 lakh annually for every student at the IITs,” said Banerji.
In most of the IITs, students will join the institute by the end of July and after taking admissions to the induction program classes will begin by the end of the month.
Some of the most renowned and established IITs like IIT-Bombay has 14 vacancies, IIT-Delhi has 27 vacant seats, IIT-Kharagpur has 50 vacancies, IIT-Kanpur has 27 vacancies and IIT-Madras has 20 vacancies. IIT-Kharagpur has the highest student intake 1341 among all institutes.