Two weeks ago, Urmi Goswami of the Economic Times reported that the government plans to open three new IITs over the next five years. This comes as a surprise, since there was no prior talk (discussion? debate?) about this sort of stuff. It really makes you wonder how the government takes these decisions. As Prof. T. Jayaraman pointed out sometime ago, there's too much of 'ad hoc'-ism in formulating and implementing policy. For example, some of these questions came to my mind immediately: Why three? Why IITs? Why not NITs? Heck, why not some real universities? What is a reasonable cost per faculty (or, per student)?
Which leads me to highlight some pretty unreal estimates for the costs involved. Since we are talking super-elite institutions, these beauties don't come cheap:
Each of the new institutes would require sustained funding of Rs 650 crore annually for the first six years. Recurring costs, which would include salaries, would be at Rs 231 crore per year, while non-recurring expenditure, that is capital investment, would be at Rs 419 crore annually.
It's good to know that we have that kind of spare change to start institutions like these. Yet, I can't help feeling that this is another one of those trial balloons floated by some sarkari babu. For one, I have seen this report only in one newspaper. For another, the report doesn't mention the owner of the idea (or the position paper that's being discussed).
Who knows, the government may actually be serious about this initiative. In any case, do read the full story which, as I said, has some unreal numbers.