Should government aid to IITs be stopped?

Should government aid to IITs be stopped?

"Here in the place of that Hijli Detention Camp stands the fine monument of India, representing India's urges, India's future in the making. This picture seems to me symbolical of the changes that are coming to India." - This is what Jawaharlal Nehru said in the first convocation address of IIT Kharagpur in 1956. The first IIT was established in 1951 in Kharagpur. Currently, there are 16 such institutes which are regarded as 'Institutions of National Importance'. They churn out great engineers every year who are expected to contribute to the development of our nation. But do they fulfill their duties towards the nation? Do they contribute enough? A raging controversy has emerged where few have raised objections over subsidized education provided to the IITians citing their low contribution towards progress of India. Are these allegations true?

Yes –

1. A lot of money is spent on subsidies but many engineers who pass out from IITs do not contribute enough towards the development of the nation. So these subsidies are going down the drain.

2. Taxpayers pay for the aid provided to the IITs. If the contribution in return by IITians is seen to be negligible, there should not be such waste of taxpayers' money.

3. The amount of subsidy given is huge. These brilliant students can easily get loans and there is no need of aid to be given.

4. This aid is given for encouraging students to learn and excel so that they make large and meaningful contribution in the development of the nation. However the reality is completely opposite. Many of them simply change their fields to managers, etc. which is a loss for the nation as it loses a well-trained, well-educated and brilliant engineer.

5. Also, many instead or serving the nation, settle out of India and contribute in firms which are not that helpful to growth of India. Remittances from such IIT engineers too don't account for much as compared to other Indians working abroad. We find less number of students joining institutes like ISRO, DRDO, etc. or even the Indian Army, Indian Air force and the Indian Navy, which are in need of brilliant engineers. So aid should be stopped for the IITs.

6. No one is asking to strip them of their prime status; they have earned it. It is just a matter of using taxpayers' money in a better and efficient manner.

No –

1. Each student has his own way of contributing. Just because one does not work in the field in which he has been educated, does not mean that he has wasted the invested money. Maybe IITians like Chetan Bhagat, who is a successful novelist, had pursued his career in mechanical engineering (his graduation field); he may not have been this successful. Also the amount of money he generates by writing novels and the subsequent taxes he pays might not have reached the people of our nation. He actually contributes doubly by paying taxes as well as creating interest in young minds to read books. This is one of the best examples of subsidy best spent by the government.

2. Many allege that IIT engineers have increasingly turned towards managerial positions instead of manning posts in ISRO and DRDO. Had they stuck to their field only, Narayan Murthy's Infosys would not have been possible. The amount of employment generated by an Indian company like Infosys is worth complimenting.

3. It is not just the engineers that are needed for development of the nation. Sometimes infrastructure needed for utilizing the developed technology has to be developed. Students might change their fields to get into such ventures to contribute more than they ever expected. Not all have the idea about the opportunities that might present themselves in the future. Companies like Flipkart might hire aerospace, mechanical, chemical, etc. engineers not for their degrees but for the aptitude and intelligence they have. Sometimes contribution in the field of graduation by a student might never be as large as the contribution made by the student in some other field.

4. Why can't a person have a change of heart and change his field to social work? The way of thinking and brilliance which was honed in the IITs can bring a much needed innovative and fresh perspective in social work as well as fields like politics.

5. It is not the reserved right of the IITians to contribute to nations progress. Any student from any college can contribute towards nation’s progress. Rather every student consciously or unconsciously contributes to the progress our country.

6. Many a times our failures in some technical fields have been attached with absence of IITians in those fields. One also needs to see that IITians are not completely away from such fields. There are IITians in such fields. Also, there is an added advantage to the government where they can collaborate with the IITs and tap the student potential even when they are studying. Many such collaborations are frequently seen. The Akash tablet is an excellent example.

7. Working in organizations like ISRO, DRDO, etc. may give exposure but do not always guarantee increase in knowledge. Some students might feel that they need to go for advanced learning to make more meaningful contribution to the nation.

8. Again the IITs too have reservation system and need to take care of the economically weak students. Stopping the aid would be detrimental to such students.

9. Allegations against the IITians can be leveled against many government colleges as the government provides subsidies to them too. Even these institutes have talented people and even those people change fields whenever they feel like. It is simply a freedom of choice and profession. Like IITs, it is expected from students of all the government colleges to contribute to the nation, but no one is raising any concern over it. It would be wrong to isolate the IITs for criticism.

'Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.' - Nelson Mandela. The change which is brought isn't necessarily to be brought in the area in which a person is educated. Had such been the case, Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, etc. would still be lawyers and barristers and not the beacons of Indian Freedom Struggle. Education is to be construed as a medium to contribute to the growth of the society. However it is also true that we must not waste opportunities and hold positions if we are not interested in them, as those opportunities can be used by others who are interested in them. Each person who gets educated in IIT contributes in some or other way to the nation. Be it directly in the studied field or indirectly through some other fields. The beauty of such institutes is not in the degree and education they give, but the vision they instill in the students that makes them spread their wings to the maximum and fly high carrying the nation with them. One must understand that it is expected from every student in every institute to contribute to the nation, be it private or government.
Post your comment


  • RE: Should government aid to IITs be stopped? -Deepa Kaushik (10/27/15)
  • IITs are the most reputed institutes in India. These institutes carry a special image and aura which is reflected in the form of status, employment, payment package and designation offered to them worldwide. The most reputed institutes still relies on the Government aid offered to its students. the aid started in a scenario where the money was a requirement to the young talented minds. But, whether the same aid carries any importance to the nation in the present day is definitely a sensible question.

    The aid was provided to the students when there was no scope for educational loans, and even if the students pledge and risk to take some loan, they were not sure of the way thgey could repay their loan back. Things have changed entirely opposite now. IITians are the most hunted talent across the world. The name of admission to IIT would invide the variouys agencies to offer educational loans to students and they are pretty confident to search a high paying job for themselves and the loan might be a meagre amount for them to pay-off.

    So far we have discussed the point of view of students. When we consider the aspect of Government which is providing aid, it is ditched by the end of the course. When the Government uses the tax-payers' money to some aid, they are putting in the capital to reap benefits in the future. Conversely, the students very easily get an employment abroad and get settled there. And we keep boosting more and more money like fools.

    It would be incorrect to say that Government should stop the aid. As the IITs are the prestige to the country, we need to maintain this aura and the Government aid could be a good means to it. But, the Government should have some sort of bond signed up with the students which make the students to work for the country mandatorily for certain years. This could help the nation to get benefitted with the young minds, and there could be no better way for these minds to repay the loan back which they have received in the form of aid
  • RE: Should government aid to IITs be stopped? -Abhishek (10/26/15)
  • some really beautiful points are jotted down against and in favour of the topic. But I think all those points which are written in favour of providing subsidies are being treated as if the discussion is against denying admission to people in IIT's. NO !
    Its not like that.
    I strongly support all those views but the discussion is about subsidy should be there on not. Which I think is not worth at all. The taxpayers money should not be provided to the people who are gonna earn big chunks of money in the future with which they can easily pay their loan.