New Delhi: The Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) will reach out to public sector undertakings (PSUs) to fill up vacant postgraduate seats.

For months, the IITs have been complaining to the human resource development (HRD) ministry that state-run companies have been hiring their M.Tech students three months into their courses, leaving hundreds of seats vacant every year.

The HRD ministry and the IITs will meet PSU representatives soon to persuade them to hire before the admission session kicks in, at least two IIT Council members said, requesting anonymity.

“IITs are aspirational brands and bright students want to study there. However, because of the late hiring process of PSUs, around 30% of the M.Tech seats fall vacant in several departments. As the admission season is over, you cannot offer these seats to other students," said one of the council members mentioned above. The council, the apex decision-making body for the IITs, is headed by the HRD minister and comprises IIT directors and chairpersons.

PSUs hire students who qualify the Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering (GATE) exam of IITs around October-November every year, three months after students start their post-graduate courses. This has led to seats falling vacant at IITs, the National Institutes of Technology (NITs) and other centre-funded technical institutes.

GATE-qualified students get a monthly stipend, while pursuing their Master’s degree. The IITs and NITs end up with revenue loss if they leave the institutions soon after joining. IIT Ropar director S.K. Das said that M.Tech seats falling vacant is a concern and there is a need to address the issue.

“The HRD minister has shown his willingness and has promised to find a way out. The primary objective is to ensure job seekers are not denied jobs, and that IITs and NITs do not suffer and seats do not go vacant," said the second official, adding that if PSUs can complete their hiring process by July everyone will benefit.

To make the process smoother, IITs plan to start a central offer acceptance portal, which will allow both institutions and PSUs to upload the shortlisted candidates. Once a student accepts an offer from a PSU, he or she will not be considered for admission, officials said. The first official said the HRD ministry wrote to the department of public enterprises under the ministry of heavy industries this year, but as PSUs are under several ministries, it’s better to call the firms for a meeting and make them aware of the situation.