Indian television media es-special today seems to be the proposed fee hike by the IITs. For the uninitiated (are there any?), the IITs have proposed a fee hike from 25k per annum to 50k per annum. And there is a widespread concern (the same channels would like us to believe) of what will happen to poor but brilliant students.
Have they heard of the Kota System? The factory charges 50K for JEE coaching (correct me if I’m wrong), and is responsible for about a quarter of selections to the premier engineering institutes of the country (again, correct me if I’m wrong). That’s just “one” institute. Now I’d be curious to know how many of those who clear IIT JEE have not opted for any expensive classes. How many do not come from previleged social classes (upper-middle class and above).
Without those figures, the debate is useless. But who’ll tell that to this great Indian Tele-media circus?
Hell, the mess bill of a typical IIT student runs up to about 12-18K per year (that was 7 years back, I’m assuming it would be 1.5x more now), out of which 5-6K is canteen – that’s Colas, Milk Shakes, Burgers, and the likes. Add to that cell phones, eating outs, booze, cigarettes, bikes, multiplex tickets, branded clothes, shoes and so on… Do the math. And you’ll know we’re subsidizing the well to do (I’m not even counting the future potential). Yes, a few poor/lower-middle-class guys do manage to enter there, I’m sure, but that’s no longer the typical IITians, and it would be much easier dealing with them as economically backward students, with scholarships or soft-loans. They do not justify a blanket subsidy to the rest 70-80% (and I’m being conservative, in my guesstimate). Again, I’d be loved to be proved wrong.