HRD Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ instructs IITs to do more research on COVID-19

New Delhi: Union Minister of Human Resource Development Shri Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ chaired a meeting with all the Directors of 23 Indian Institutes of Technology through Video Conferencing in New Delhi today . The Minister expressed his desire and directed all the Institutes to take care of the students, faculty and their family members and the contractual staff in the campus and ensure that they are not facing any problem.

Shri Pokhriyal also directed the Institutes to ensure that maximum number of students are covered through online courses. Institutes have been asked to place the courses on SWAYAM / SWAYAM PRABHA and work on credit transfer mechanism. The Minister also instructed that Mental health related challenges (during the lockdown period) of students also to be addressed by all the institutes and establish a helpline in this regard. There should be a task force set up by every institute which should include psychologists to handle mental health issues. Regarding the issue of salary / pension/ scholarships of staff and students , he desired that they may be paid in time and there must not be any problem in this regard.Regarding the issue of Payment of salaries to Adhoc, Contractual and daily wagers, Shri Nishank has directed that no hardship should be faced by these employees and salaries should be paid in full upto 30th April.

The Minister appealed to all the institutes to contribute to the PM CARES fund. Further, he instructed the Institutes to ensure that they should conduct active research work in the area of COVID19 . The research work which is already being done should be given wider publicity in the social media and other mediums.

Shri Pokhriyal also directed the Directors of institutes to take care of students presently staying in Hostels. Special care and attention towards social distancing, distribution food should be ensured. Also, he directed that academic calendar of the institutes may be prepared so that students should not loose summer and winter internships. A task force call for placements may be set up in institutes to liase with various companies to ensure that adequate placement not below the levels of past years may take place in these institutes.

Shri Nishank also directed that all IIT’s should come forward to utilize the facilities of incubation provided by IIT Bombay.

During the Video Conferencing each of the IITs highlighted the facilities they are extending to the students, faculty and staff and also to contractual staff available in the campus. The Institutes are in constant touch with the students through the Director /faculty / staff members for extending any assistance required. They also highlighted major achievements in the field of research especially those to fight the COVID-19 by way of protective gears like masks, low cost ventilators, sanitizer, testing kits etc. The HRD Minister appreciated the efforts of these institutions in this field and expressed his desire and the will of the Government to encourage further research work to be done in these institutions.

The Directors of the IITs have assured / informed that:-

– Most of the students of the IITs are presently not in the campus. Those who are on campus are being provided all possible help like food, security and at the same time social distancing is being maintained.

– All the institutes are maintaining social distancing and security of students, faculty & family members and contractual staff presently on the campus.

– Institutes are offering online courses to make good the time for the students who are not able to attend regular classes. Faculty Members have been directed to prepare and preserve the online material provided so that the students who do not have access to Internet at present can use the same later on.

– IITs are working towards preparation of revised academic calendar in view of the present lockdown so that the students are not deprived of academic activities.

– Where jobs have been withdrawn after campus placement of students, special drive will be done in July/August for them.

– Institutes are continuously working so that there will be continuity in student’s learning / motivation. Some IITs are encouraging the students by means of various cash awards to undertake research on COVID-19.