I don't know what kind of inputs Prof. C.N.R. Rao gave to the government before it announced the launch of eight new IITs. And I don't know why he keeps going on and on about how the government -- his own government! -- has mucked them up through poor / non-existent planning. But I do want to point out one (possible) reason behind the alacrity with which three states -- Gujarat, Punjab and Orissa -- chose to start 'their' new IITs within six months from the announcement: lack of policy continuity.
I'll give two examples.
There was this curious case of "upgrading" a bunch of engineering colleges into IITs. During the NDA regime, four such colleges were identified. Under the UPA government, however, this list changed; it now had seven colleges. And only IT-BHU was common to both the lists.
Oh, there was something else that was common to both the lists: the committee that chose these colleges! Bizarre, no?
Similarly, in 2003, the NDA government announced the setting up of National Institutes of Science at four places: Allahabad, Bhubaneswar, Chennai and Kolkata; acting on it, the UGC had initiated some steps (see this, for example). After the General Elections, the new UPA regime scrapped this proposal, and announced that two IISERs were to be set up in Kolkata and Chennai (Mohali, Bhopal and Thiruvananthapuram were added later). The letters -- NIS as opposed to IISER -- might be different, but I don't think anybody would dispute that the spirit behind these initiatives was the same.
Press reports at that time (see this, for example) noted that the UPA government's move was meant to snub the previous government's HRD Minister, Mr. M.M. Joshi. I don't know what Joshi felt about this snub, but this change led to severe heartburn in Orissa, since that state lost 'its' NIS [check out this site].
May be it's worth pointing out that in the second example, Prof. C.N.R. Rao's role was -- I have to choose my words carefully here! -- not insignificant.
So, let's see what we get out of this little exercise:
There is clearly a deep uncertainty about whether a stated policy will survive a change of government.
When the UPA government announced its proposal for five new IITs in 2008 (the other three in AP, Bihar and Rajasthan were announced in 2007), it was just about a year from the next General Elections.
Given the prestige associated with 'getting' an IIT, is it surprising that the Gujarat, Punjab and Orissa governments jumped at the opportunity to get 'their' IITs going?
Is it surprising, then, that the new institutions would need to scramble to get their academic programs going -- within three months after their creation?
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Here's a great op-ed by Prof. T. Jayaraman covering some of this stuff (and more).