In a first, no seats have been vacant this year at the prestigious Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) across the country, according to HRD Ministry officials.
"There have been a total of 13,604 undergraduate admissions in IITs this year with nil vacant seats. This is the first time ever to fill all seats in all IITs leaving no vacant seats which has been achieved by proactive cooperation of all IITs," HRD Higher Education Secretary R Subrahmanyam said.
Last year, 118 seats in all 23 IITs were vacant.
Then HRD minister Prakash Javadekar had attributed the vacant seats to students not showing interest in certain disciplines.
Noticing the number of seats lying vacant in the premium institutes as rising trend in the five years, except in 2014, the HRD ministry had in 2017 set up a panel which made several recommendations to address the issue.
According to the ministry data, of the nearly 11,000 seats across the IITs, a total of 274 seats remained vacant from 2013 with IIT BHU recording maximum vacancies.
The Indian School of Mines (which was upgraded to the status of an IIT in 2016) recorded 23 vacancies each in 2016 and 2017.
The IIT-Kanpur and the IIT-Hyderabad had all their seats taken between 2013 and 2017, while the IIT-Delhi recorded zero vacancies between 2013 and 2015.
In 2016 and 2017, the IIT-Delhi had two seats vacant in each year. As far as IIT-Bombay is concerned, it had all its seats filled in 2013, 2014 and 2015, while had two vacancies in 2016 and one in 2017.
"In order to minimise the vacancies in IITs, NITs and other Centrally-Funded Technical institutions (CFTIs), the HRD ministry had constituted a committee to recommend suitable measures," a senior ministry official said.
The committee recommended the institutions may review seats in each discipline based on employment opportunities, national requirement, available infrastructure and scope for future.
"The committee also suggested streamlining the counselling process by having multiple rounds as well as taking other pro-active measures such as launching helpline to facilitate students in making choices," the official said.