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Fund crunch at NITs deprives 2,000 JEE toppers of scholarship

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Around 2,000 JEE rank-holders studying in various National Institutes of Technology (NITs) will have to shell out Rs 35,000 more per year as a committee has scrapped a scholarship component citing funds crunch.
The toppers who pursue engineering (undergraduate level) in NITs are entitled to a scholarship of Rs 2.8 lakh each for the course period under this scheme. Launched in the year 2010-11, the scheme envisaged a fee waiver of Rs 35,000 per annum to these meritorious students.
Documents available with TOI reveal that the standing committee of Council of National Institute of Technologies, the top decision-making body governing the premier technical institutes, has recommended scrapping the scheme as it would save Rs 56 crore.
Consequently, the top 2,000 rank-holders doing their courses at NITs have neither received funds for the 'merit scholarship scheme', nor have the institutes been asked to send the list of potential beneficiaries this year.
NITs, receive more than Rs 3,200 crore annually for development.
Revenue through sale of application forms for JEE was the main source of revenue for Central Seat Allocation Board (CSAB), which coordinates undergraduate engineering admissions in NITs.
Funds, left over after conducting JEE, were utilised to award scholarships to the rankers. "CSAB realised that not much funds were left over after the conduct of exams and proposal seeking support from the ministry is pending for a long time," a former standing committee member who participated in the meeting told TOI.

The scheme was reviewed after directors of NITs expressed difficulty in continuing it, as there was a 'huge gap' between funds dispersed by the Centre and requirements of the institutions.
NITs maintain that their Interest Rate Generation (IRG) took a massive hit because of the exemptions related to fee payment. Unable to find a solution, the committee decided that it would be appropriate to scrap the scheme and receipts from CSAB could be utilised for development of the institutes.
Though the recommendations were sent to the ministry in November 2016, CSAB chairman Udaykumar Yaragatti refused to comment on its current status.
"Funds for the year 2016-17 were still pending and we haven't got instructions to send the list of beneficiaries for 2017-18," said a professor from NIT-Trichy, requesting anonymity.


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