On Thursday, Students of the Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay (IIT-B) held a rally to protest against the reforms introduced by the Union Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) for the institute’s MTech course. The protesting students said the new policies will discourage students from socially and economically backward communities from pursuing MTech in IITs.
On September 26, the 53rd IIT Council had approved a 10-fold increase in the course fee and the discontinuation of stipend to MTech students.
Currently, MTech students pay ₹30,000-₹50,000 a year for the course. This is now expected to increase to ₹2 lakh. Moreover, students will no longer receive stipends and have been instead encouraged to seek stipends from the industry.
A statement released by the protesting students on Thursday read, “The government is spending huge money to commercialize higher education in the name of promoting ‘world-class institutes’. Fee hike and stipend cut will reserve education in IITs for the socially and economically privileged.” A research scholar from IIT-B told Hindustan Times, “The fee hike and discontinuation of the stipend will cause the institutes’ research output to shrink. People with talent may not be able to secure a seat. Many graduates are already burdened with education loans from their BTech degrees. How will they be able to afford higher studies? It is an attack on research.”