More seats, IIT cut-offs drop
Chronicle Editor @ Aug 27, 2008
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2 Aug, 2008, 2030 hrs IST,Hemali Chhapia, TNN
Mumbai: The increase in the number of seats at the IITs may have spelt good news, but entry levels have fallen at these hallowed institutions. If the total seats went up from 5,537 to 6,992 this year, the general category cut-off has fallen from 206 to 180 out of 489. Also, only a handful of ST students qualified for the six new IITs.

Despite the "generous" relaxations the IITs provide for the quota candidates , 397 SC/ST seats are going abegging and almost 35 OBC seats are vacant. IIT-Madras director P V Indiresan said, "The drop in cut-offs is significant. One reason could be that the IITs took in more students. But there are other concerns—the JEE is outdated for one. Also, the quality of quota candidates admitted is being compromised as more students need to be taken in."


Overall cut-off marks have fallen from 206 to 180 this year as the number of seats has gone up by 1,455. The cut-off for SC/STs is a mere 104.

3.11 lakh students took the JEE this year for 6,992 seats in 13 IITs. Of these, 414 seats were reserved for ST candidates , but only 159 were shortlisted. Similarly, only 690 were shortlisted for the 832 SC seats. The OBC figures were 1,099 out of 1,134. This means that 432 seats have gone abegging this year.
The top ranker in the general category scored 433 marks while the last student to make it scored 180. Among SCs & STs, the toppers scored 322 and 292.

Experts say that a span of 14 marks can accommodate nearly 1,500 general category students. Assuming a cut-off of even 150, it means that nearly 4,500 general category students have conceivably lost out on an IIT education.

Times View:

To let over 430 seats in IITs go vacant is a criminal waste of infrastructure (such as faculty and physical facilities). Reservations are meant to give disadvantaged sections of society a boost. But where quotas cannot be filled because there aren't enough suitable candidates, the cut-off for the general category should be relaxed so that all seats are used up—the cut-off will still be higher than for SC/STs, so no one can argue that it will dilute academic standards. As with airline seats and hotel rooms, these seats are 'perishable', they must be filled the same year. This should not affect next year's quota.

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