From the 2017-18 academic year, BTech students from India’s premier engineering colleges, the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), will get an opportunity to pursue PhD without taking the Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering (GATE).
With the launch of Prime Minister’s Fellowship for undergraduate engineering students at IITs, the Minister of Human Resource Development (MHRD) believes it will bring down the number of engineers going abroad for higher studies. “Students with a CGPA (Cumulative Grade Point Average) of 8.5 and above will be eligible for the PM’s fellowship, where they will get a stipend of Rs 65,000 every month for five years,” said Prof Devang Khakhar , Director, IIT Bombay.
In addition to the PM Fellowship, the selected candidates will also be able to seek direct admission into PhD programmes. Currently, students take the GATE exam to secure admission in MTech (Masters of Technology) and PhD courses at IITs. The GATE score is also used by PSUs (Public-sector Undertakings) for recruiting graduate level engineers.
The IIT council in a meeting held on August 23, 2016 with the Minister of Human Resource Development, Prakash Javadekar, came up with this plan to decrease the number of students going abroad to pursue higher studies.
“THe PM’s fellowship was originally introduced in 2013, for PhD scholars in the field of Science, Engineering, Technology, Agriculture, and Medicine. It has now branched out to BTech students as well,” added Prof Khakhar.
The Fellowship is a public private partnership between the Science and Engineering Research Board, Department of Science and Technology, Government of India and Confederation of Indian Industry (CII). According to published sources, about 1,000 students will get the research fellowship, where one-half of the scholarship comes from the government, and the second half comes from a partner company which also works closely with the candidate on the research project.