Knowledge Economy At IIT

Introduction of Knowledge Pillar

The Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) are pillars of knowledge centre in modern India. Few of the IITs have acquired such brand value making them comparable with western Institutes, and they are the ones which in true sense carrying the glorified legacy of ancient India. IITs are self-governing public, technical, and research institutes located across India. They are under the dominion of Ministry of Education, Government of India. Each IIT is an autonomous institute that draft their own curricula. Each IIT is linked to other IITs though a common council called IIT council.

As per legal framework, the Minister of Education is the ex- officio chairperson of the IIT Council. IITs are administered by the Institute of Technology Act, 1961, which has declared each IIT as an “Institution of National Importance”. Presently, the Institutes of Technology Act, 1961 lists twenty- three institutes as IIT. Commencing 2022, the total number of seats for undergraduate programs in all IITs is approximately 16,053.

History of Knowledge Legacy

The history of IITs date back to 1945, when the government of India, on the initiative of Sir Ardeshir Dalal and under the chairmanship of N. R. Sarkar, appointed a twenty-two-member committee of industrialists, scientists, and educators, to consider the development of higher technical institutions in India. The goal was to corroborate an adequate supply of technical workforce for India’s industrial development. The committee recommended the establishment of at least four “higher technical institutions”, scattered throughout India-one each in the north, south, east, and west to prevent regional imbalance. These institutions were possibly to be modelled after the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

The first IIT, named as the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kharagpur, was inaugurated at Kharagpur in West Bengal on 18 August 1951 by Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, the then minister of education. Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru laid the cornerstone on 3 March 1952, and formally opened the institute on 21 April 1956. On the recommendations of the Sarkar Committee, four campuses were established at Bombay (1958) in collaboration with the former Soviet Union, Madras (1959) in collaboration with West Germany, Kanpur (1959) in collaboration with top US colleges led by MIT. IIT Delhi (1961) was established by upgrading the College of Engineering and Technology with British collaboration. Thereafter in 1994, sixth IIT, IIT Guwahati was established according to the Assam accord, under the existing IIT system without any foreign support. Thereafter in 2001, through an ordinance by the President of India, the oldest technical institute of India, the University of Roorkee, was upgraded to an IIT and was renamed as the Indian Institute of Technology, Roorkee, in the state of Uttaranchal.

Over the past few years, India witnessed a rise in establishment of several IITs in different parts of the country. In 2008 to 2009, eight new IITs were set up in Gandhinagar, Jodhpur, Hyderabad, Indore, Patna, Bhubaneswar, Ropar, and Mandi. In 2012, the Institute of Technology, Banaras Hindu University was made a member of the IITs and renamed as IIT (BHU) Varanasi.

In 2015 to 2016, six new IITs in Tirupati, Palakkad, Dharwad, Bhilai, Goa and Jammu were approved through a 2016 bill amendment, along with the conversion of Indian School of Mines Dhanbad into IIT (ISM) Dhanbad.