Mumbai/New Delhi: In a dramatic turn of events, the IITs that were confident of filling seats across campuses with a small pool of 18,000-odd candidates were asked to lower their entry bar by the Union ministry of human resources and development (MHRD) on Thursday. In Monday’s edition, after the JEE (Advanced) results were declared on Sunday, TOI was the only paper to raise doubts on whether all seats would be filled.
R Subrahmanyam, secretary, higher education, MHRD, said: “The ministry intervened as otherwise over 1,000 seats would have remained vacant. The extended list will be issued by IIT-Kanpur. The first merit list would have been inadequate to fill up all the seats.”
The lowering of cutoff is being looked upon as interference from the big bosses, but the premier engineering schools were asked to drop their cutoffs such that there were twice as many candidates as seats.
Result: With the cutoff falling to 90 from 126, there are now 31,988 qualified candidates, up from 18,138. The extended merit list includes 3,445 preparatory candidates. Earlier, without the preparatory course, there were 14,304 candidates. The number of qualified overseas citizen of India candidates also went up to 90, persons of Indian origin to 15 and foreign students to four. The IITs have a total student intake capacity of 11,279.
This has also made the IITs relax the score for other backward classes (OBCs), and while 5,555 candidates qualified without any handicap, another 1,345 were added to the OBC pool by relaxing the score of the last general category candidate by 10%. The situation got worse with the other categories. While 732 scheduled caste students and 243 scheduled tribe students qualified without any relaxation, more than thrice that number, in each category, made the cut after a 50% relaxation in scores. A total of 2,278 SC and 674 ST candidates qualified after a 50% relaxation in scores. That brought down the aggregate cut-off to 90 for general category students, 81 for OBC candidates, and 45 each for SC and ST students. The subject-wise too cutoffs dipped. The minimum score in each subject fell to 12 for open category, 11 for OBCs and six for SCs and STs. Minimum percent marks for preparatory course rank list for each subject fell to 2.5.
Shalabh S, JEE chairman of IIT-Kanpur, said: “The ministry’s directive was that there ought to be twice the number of candidates in each category as the seats available.”
On Wednesday, the joint admission board (JAB), comprising directors and top-ranking officials of various IITs, decided to not lower the cutoff for the JEE (Advanced) merit list and also planned to conduct a simulation based on last year’s data to see whether the present merit list is adequate to fill up the seats. Following the MHRD intervention, the board met again on Thursday and decided to release an extended merit list. “It was decided that an extended merit list of JEE (Advanced) 2018 qualified candidates be released by lowering the aggregate cutoff marks of the candidates…this will not affect the list of previously declared qualified candidates…the new list will be in addition to it,” said the board.