CAG Report Summary
- The Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) released its audit report on ‘Setting Up of New Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs)’ in December 2021. The report provides findings from the performance audit of the eight new IITs in Bhubaneswar, Gandhinagar, Hyderabad, Indore, Jodhpur, Mandi, Patna, and Ropar set up during 2008-09. It covers the activities of these IITs during 2014-19. Key observations and recommendations of CAG include:
- Allotment of land: All the eight IITs commenced their activities from temporary/transit campuses before shifting to permanent campuses, which were to be developed in a phased manner. In 2006, the central government requested the respective state governments to allot 500-600 acres of land free of cost to each of the eight IITs. The audit observed that there were persisting issues in allotment and transfer of land in four IITs in Bhubaneswar, Gandhinagar, Mandi, and Ropar. The lack of requisite land was also an impediment for providing planned facilities to the students. CAG recommended that the Ministry of Education should take proactive steps with state governments to ensure availability of land to IITs.
- Delays in infrastructure creation: Each IIT developed their own Master Plan which included detailed infrastructure requirements and allocated land for academic and non-academic purposes. Major construction works in all eight IITs were undertaken in two phases during 2012-19. The report noted that the pace of infrastructure creation did not correspond with the pace of envisaged increase of student/faculty. Not meeting targets of infrastructure development in a timely manner affected student intake in all eight IITs. It also affected timely installation of equipment and proper fund management. CAG recommended that infrastructure growth should be speeded up to ensure requisite sites are ready for procurement and timely installation of scientific equipment.
- Delayed infrastructure development led to spill-over of the project period from six years to 13 years. It also necessitated increase in capital outlay from Rs 6,080 crore to Rs 14,332 crore (136% increase). The audit also found certain infirmities such as: (i) engaging consultants/contractors on nomination basis without tender procedures, (ii) deficient contractual agreements imposing indefinite liability/financial commitments on the IITs, and (iii) idling of created assets.
- Financial management: IITs are autonomous institutions which receive grants from the central government. They also generate internal revenue through fee, publications, interests, and consultancy works. The audit noted that the proportion of internal receipts of the IITs to their recurring expenditure was very low. Therefore, IITs were heavily dependent on the grants from central government for meeting recurring expenditure. CAG recommended that the Ministry and IITs should identify avenues for adequate internal resources. This will reduce dependence on government grants and strengthen financial position of all IITs.
- Student intake: The Ministry envisaged an overall intake of 18,880 students across eight IITs between 2008-14. The audit found that only 6,224 students (33% of planned intake) were admitted during this period. In postgraduate/Ph.D programmes, all eight IITs had vacancies. This indicates a need for realistic assessment of student intake and evaluation of the programmes to attract suitable students. There was also inadequate representation of students from reserved categories in postgraduate and Ph.D enrolment. CAG recommended that targets for enrolment in postgraduate and Ph.D programmes should be fixed. IITs should take steps to increase number of course and student intake.
- Research projects: IITs receive funds from both government and non-government/industry sources for sponsored research projects. Faculty members of IITs are engaged in such projects. The audit observed that in all the eight IITs, the share of non-government funded sponsored projects was low. Non-government funded projects ranged from 0.35% to 14.31% in terms of project funds. Also, while a number of patents were filed, no patents were obtained in five IITs during 2014-19. This indicated the need to improve outcome of research activities. CAG recommended that IITs should focus more on research by means of patents granted and attract research funding from non-government sources.
- Faculty vacancies: The Ministry permitted an increase in sanction of faculty positions linked with increase in students. Despite efforts put in by the IITs, seven IITs had vacancies in faculty positions ranging from 5% to 36%. CAG recommended that IITs should periodically review the availability of faculty and ways to attract faculty to fill the vacant positions.