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Professional colleges in India, including engineering and business schools, are likely to face a tough year ahead with disruptions in their campus recruitments as the covid-19 pandemic affects businesses worldwide.

The human resource development ministry has asked 23 Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) to arrange for a special recruitment drive for those students who may have lost or may lose their jobs due to the outbreak. “Where jobs have been withdrawn after campus placement of students, a special drive will be done in July and August for them," the ministry said after a review meeting on Wednesday.

While teaching-learning disruptions are being taken care by moving classes online, institutions said covid-19 will immediately impact their summer placement process and ultimately the final hiring season at such schools, including the IITs and Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs).

Recruiters concur with the views. “The pandemic is certainly impacting educational institutions adversely. 2020 is going to be a tough year from a campus recruitment point of view. I think summer placement will get hit first, and it may not start in time. And it has its a cascading impact on final recruitment," said Sarit K. Das, director of IIT Ropar.

Das said nearly 40% of students tend to travel overseas for summer training, which is unlikely to happen this year as the coronavirus has impacted the whole world. “We have to devise a plan on how to deal with a situation like this—not just one IIT, but maybe all IITs together," he added.

“And if the summer placement gets hit, the pre-placement offers will get impacted," said Bharat Bhaskar, director of IIM Raipur.

Pre-placement offers are made to students based on their performance in summer training. Bhaskar said since the pandemic has hit all sectors, institutions will have to reassess the situation once the lockdown is over, whenever the situation improves.

The last recruitment season was very smooth, but this time it will be a lot of hard work, said a professor from one of the oldest IITs on the condition of anonymity.

“Not just jobs, even the number of offers made and the salary offered will get impacted," the professor said.

Rituparna Chakraborty, senior vice present at staffing firm Teamlease Services, said: “The business loss is huge. It is difficult to say whether companies will write off one quarter or two quarters. Covid-19 is not just a pure health crisis, it’s a bigger economic crisis."

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