IIT Alumni To Challenge Bad Politics

New Delhi, Feb 26: | Updated: Feb 27 2004, 05:30am hrs
Technocrats are closing their ranks to ward off political bashing of renowned institutes such as Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs). Close on the heels of HRD minister Murli Manohar Joshis attack on professional institutes, alumni of seven Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) are planning to form a Federation of IIT Alumni Association.

The objective is to protect the autonomy of Indias premier institutions and help them grow. Currently, all seven IITs (Kharagpur, Delhi, Kanpur, Bombay, Madras, Guwahati and Roorkee) have separate alumni associations.

Some former IITians said though the idea to bring about 1.3-lakh alumni under one umbrella was floated long ago, serious efforts are being made now, specially after institutions like IITs and IIMs face threat of paucity of funds and politicisation.

When contacted, Maruti Udyog assistant general manager SM Murmu, an alumni of IIT Kharagpur and involved in unifying all IIT alumni associations into one umbrella, told FE: IITians are thinking of an apex body for quite sometime and we are now working on it.

The idea is still in a preliminary stage but in the recent meeting of IITians in Delhi we have discussed this with eminent people like Hindustan Lever Ltd (HLL) chairman MS Banga and NIIT CMD RS Pawar who endorsed the idea.

Some alumni belonging to different IITs are meeting in Delhi tonight to discuss the issue, he said.

IIT Delhi Alumni Association president Sudarshan Chawla said the formation of an apex IIT alumni body would take time. The idea to form a pan-IIT alumni association is not new. The formation of an apex body will take time, he said.

Explaining the need for an apex body, Mr Murmu said: IITs must maintain educational standards and intellectual tradition. An apex body will help achieve this aim.

Commenting on governments intervention in technical education, Mr Murmu said: We believe that government must focus on primary education, which is the basis of all learning. Higher technical education must encourage meritocracy. So far as funding for higher technical education is concerned, easy loans are available for meritorious students.