India - Montek rejects President's All Women IIT Idea
NEW DELHI: Planning Commission deputy chairperson Montek Singh Ahluwalia has rejected President Pratibha Patil's proposal for an all-women IIT at Amravati, but this may not be the last word on the matter. As sources point out, the world over there are all-women education institutions imparting higher education, including technical and management courses. Patil's proposal, that was approved by both the HRD ministry and the PMO, had gone to the Plan panel for its in-principle approval. The PMO had told the Planning Commission that the proposal for an all-women IIT was independent of the six new IITs that have already started. It was argued that such an institution in a backward region like Amravati would send the right message and could act as a catalyst for women's education in the area. While rejecting the idea, the panel said setting up an all-women IIT would result in demands for similar NITs and IIMs and was, therefore, not worth it. In fact, the Plan panel's letter clearly states that the decision to reject the President's idea has the approval of Ahluwalia. According to sources, the matter has not ended yet and another attempt could be made to convince the Planning Commission. As a senior official said, it is rare that a proposal from the President is shot down summarily as the Planning Commission has done. He also said, "What is wrong if there is a demand for an all-women IIM or NIT. The world over there are technical universities for women." In fact, after Pepsico chief Indra Nooyi's success a private education group has decided to start an all-women management school in India. Sources also cite example of Japan where there are over 10 women's universities offering courses from humanities to engineering and science.