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`Relax admission norms for northeast students’


Agartala : State governments in the northeast have urged New Delhi to relax norms for the students of the region for admission into the National Institutes of Technology (NITs) across the country.

“Keeping in view the inadequate educational infrastructure and other problems typical to the northeastern states, intervention of the prime minister and union human resource development minister have been sought to give relaxation in the latest norms for admission into the NITs in the country,” said Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar.

Sarkar and his Assam counterpart Tarun Gogoi have, in separate letters earlier this week, requested the prime minister and the HRD minister to intervene in this matter.

Union human resource development ministry, in a letter to all the states June 9, directed that 50 percent of the seats of these NITs would be filled through the state quotas, while the remaining 50 percent would be from the successful candidates of the All India Engineering Entrance Examination (AIEEE).

Presently, there are 20 NITs, one each in Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Orissa, Punjab, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Tripura, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal.

Under the previous guidelines, 50 percent of the seats in each NIT were to be filled by domicile candidates of the state in which the NIT was located and the remaining 50 percent were to be allocated to other states and union territories.

“We feared that the new system would make admission easier into the 50 percent non-domicile seats in 20 NITs with students of some big states that have been dominating the national ranking in the AIEEE and deprive the educationally backward states, including northeastern states,” Sarkar told newsmen.

“I and Assam chief minister have requested the prime minister and union HRD minister to allocate those 50 percent non-domicile seats among the different states as was done till last academic session (2007-08),” he added.

Sarkar said: “Union HRD minister informed me over phone that the NIT governing board in a meeting June 21 would review the latest decision and take a final decision on this matter.

“If the new system is enforced, it would badly affect the career prospects of the students of backward states specially candidates of the northeast.”

In 2003, the union government decided to take over 17 Regional Engineering Colleges (RECs) and upgraded them as NITs.

Three more engineering colleges – the Bihar College of Engineering, Patna, the Government Engineering College, Raipur, and the Tripura Engineering College, Agartala, were upgraded to NITs in 2004, 2005 and 2006, respectively.

“The central government has also decided to set up the country’s 21st NIT in Manipur capital Imphal by converting the Manipur Institute of Technology into NIT,” a senior official said here.