Dear Smt Smriti Iraniji,
At the drop of a hat, every government, including yours, says that subsidies are bad for the economy and should be done away with.
Many of the subsidies in your ministry are going to those who don’t deserve it. IITians are the most guilty of this pilferage. To make things worse, they hardly do anything for the country. Best-selling fiction is not known to help farmers.
1) To begin with, this is what they cost us
While it takes over Rs 3.4 lakh to educate an IITian per year, the student pays only Rs 90,000 per year. The rest is borne by the government. That is close to Rs 2.5 lakh per student per year, which is being paid by the tax payer. If one extrapolates this to all the 39,540 students in the Indian Institute of Technologies, the cost borne by the tax payer on educating IITians extends to 988.5 crore annually.
According to budget estimates, Rs 1703.85 crore is to be allocated to the IITs for 2015-’16.
2) What do we get in return for the Rs 1,700 crore we spend on them?
Inspite of producing 9,885 world-class engineers in computer science, electrical, electronic, chemical, mechanical, production fields every year…
a) The Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle, though successful with the Russian Cryogenic Engine, has time and again failed with the indigenous cryogenic engine. We have succeeded only once with our indigenous cryogenic rocket.
b) Indigenous submarines are still a distant dream because of the technological complexity in building them. Though many projects are coming up in our own shipyards, they are happening because we are merely manufacturing them in India with foreign technology.
c) The indigenous Indian Small Arms System rifles for our army, developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation, have always been reported as problematic, and we import assault rifles from Israel.
Why could our world-class engineers, who are educated with tax payers’ money, not have built them?
3) This is what our top IITians gave a miss
A Right to Information application that was filed recently has shown that less than 2% of engineers at the Indian Space Research Organisation are from IITs and the National Institutes of Technology. Our best space programme doesn’t get our best engineers every year.
The army doesn’t get engineers and officers from the IITs. Between 1986 and 2006, not a single IITian has joined the Indian army.
The DRDO has a shortage of more than 2,700 scientists, and it is stretched and overworked, but our world-class engineers don’t find it challenging.
4) If an IITian wants to run an online shop, then why do I, a taxpayer, have to pay for his chemical engineering degree?
Going by 2013 figures, Flipkart, the online mega-store, recruited seven students from IIT Madras in 2013.
One can understand the logic behind Flipkart hiring a computer science engineer. But six of the hires had studied aerospace, chemical, metallurgy, bio-technology and engineering physics. What specialist knowledge will they bring to Flipkart?
These students do not have any interest in what they learnt in their four-year undergraduate programme, and want to erase their history by moving to a different field.
5) Why did I pay for Chetan Bhagat’s mechanical engineering degree?
I have nothing against Chetan Bhagat, but I do know that Indian taxpayers paid to make him a mechanical engineer. He has done everything but engineering.
Another RTI filed with IIM Bangalore has revealed that out of the current batch of 406 students, 97 students are from IITs. Fifty-six of these are students with less than two years work experience.
If all these engineers wanted to be was managers, why does the tax payer need to pay for their engineering education at the IITs?
6) Get a loan, why seek a subsidy?
All students from IITs can get collateral-free loans from nationalised banks for upto Rs 20 Lakh.
And IITians are obviously so awesome that companies are eager to pay them crores of rupees.
Then why should a world-class engineer who makes crores of rupees and adds no value to India be given a subsidised education at the IITs? Can’t they get educated with a bank loan of their own and repay it after getting their huge salaries?
7) Remittances help forex? Nope, not really.
Whenever there is a debate on brain drain from the IITs, the remittances issue pops up. Many believe that IITians who go abroad send back remittances and contribute to foreign exchange reserves. However, it is a pittance for India.
A report in the Economic Times shows that out of the total remittances of $70 billion to India, the remittances from IITians who go to developed countries is much lower than the remittances from the Middle East to the state of Kerala.
Most of the Malayalis in the Gulf are blue-collar workers, not IIT engineers.
So, why should the common man subsidise an IITian’s college fees?
This article was originally published on Saddahaq.com.
Also read a response to this article: No, Smriti Irani is not wasting your money on the IITians