Union Human Resource development minister Smriti Irani has promised a fee waiver for all SC/ST, Dalit and physically challenged students of the 23 branches of Indian Institute of Technology (IIT). A formal announcement to this effect will be made soon.
Irani said the move will benefit nearly 50% of the 60,471 students enrolled in the country's premier technology institutes.
The decision follows an IIT panel clearing a proposal for a three-fold fee hike, from Rs 90,000 to Rs 3 lakh per annum from the next academic session. The final decision on this rests with the HRD minister. Irani, however, refused to comment on the hike and only said the fees had not been increased yet.
The minister was in Surat to participate in an event to mark BJP foundation day.
Currently, the IITs have a 15% reservation for SCs, 7.5% for STs and 27% for OBCs. The 66% concession in fee will benefit a much larger number of students from the middle-class and lower middle-class segments.