New Delhi: In a sign of growing resistance to a key plan of the United Progressive Alliance government, the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi, on Thursday opted out of the move towards a single test for entry into all engineering colleges across India.

If the resistance gathers momentum—IIT Kanpur has already broken away from the move—it could disrupt plans to do away with multiple tests and trigger chaos in what is otherwise a very important ritual in the annual academic calender.

After a meeting of the IIT Delhi senate, the engineering school decided that the common entrance test would “impinge on the autonomy of IIT Delhi".

Growing resistance: IIT Delhi says the proposed procedure is untenable. Photo: Ramesh Pathania/Mint

One senate member said the other IITs are likely to follow suit.

The senate resolution further said, “For the year 2013, IIT Delhi shall admit students to its undergraduate programmes through an examination which will be on a pattern similar to the one used in IIT JEE (Joint Entrance Examination) 2012." Mint has reviewed a copy of the resolution.

On 28 May, human resource development (HRD) minister Kapil Sibal announced the initiative for a single entrance exam for admission to engineering colleges after a meeting with the the councils of IITs, the National Institutes of Technology and the Indian Institutes of Information Technology. Sibal is the chairman of all the councils.

The minister feels that the move will reduce stress for students having to write multiple exams, lend weight to the class XII board exam and reduce the influence of coaching centres that prepare students.

It was then decided that applicants will be selected on the basis of three tests—the class 12 board exam, JEE main test and JEE advanced exam. All the centrally funded technical institutes except IITs will give weight to these three sets of examinations in the proportion of 40:30:30.

Soon after the senate resolution, IIT Delhi alumni association supported the move, calling it “historic" and criticized Sibal for being populist.

“It is historic though unfortunate that, pushed to the edge by Sibal’s autocratic and manipulative attitude, the IIT Delhi senate had no choice but to decide to do an IIT Kanpur," said Somnath Bharti, president, IIT Delhi Alumni Association.

In a statement, the association said “it is solidly for the autonomy of the IITs and their senates. Should the need arise, the alumni will be willingly to take the matter to the court."

A.K. Mittal, a member of the senate and secretary of the All India IIT Faculty Federation, said that the decision was simple. “Now we will conduct the JEE in its current pattern along with IIT Kanpur. We are in talks with other IITs and you will see them joining us soon," he said.

Mittal and a group of senior professors from the older IITs met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh over the crisis last week and requested him to intervene in the matter.

Another senate member said, on condition of anonymity, that there could be two JEEs—“one Sibal JEE and the other the IIT JEE".

An HRD ministry official said the government was “watching the development" but is “optimistic about pushing through the plan". He didn’t want to be named.

IIT aspirants said the tussle has been confusing. “We are now very worried. The situation is very unclear and you need to know the real position as IIT preparation needs at least one year," said Amit Kumar Nayak, an IIT aspirant in Bhubaneswar.

Pramod Maheswari, chief executive of education and coaching firm Career Point Ltd, said the single test move is not going to help, agreeing that students are very confused. “We get a lot of queries these days over the recent developments," he said.