As it celebrates its 60th year, IIT Madras is focusing on startups, job creation and high-quality research. The top-ranked engineering institute in the country already nurtures 190 startups, each providing around 25 jobs.
Explaining why the top IIT graduates have not started up wildly successful ventures like Google or Facebook, Bhaskar Ramamurthi, it's director told NDTV, "Google is a high technology company that invented search. At the core, they require new technology. Companies like Google, Facebook, Amazon are high technology companies that exploit internet in a different way like to do commerce in a different way to publish in a different way. But a lot of our startups actually are building equipment and machines. They are building underwater rovers, realtime pipe inspection systems, new electric vehicles take time to become very large but. That will happen. But don't measure them in terms of dollars but on the kind of impact they have."
Amid job cuts and shrinking openings, Prof Ramamurthi says there is no impact on high end jobs IITians go for. Once known for brain drain by IIT graduates on who the government currently invests an estimated Rs 30 lakh each, he said, "Only 10 per cent of IIT Madras students go overseas either for jobs or higher studies in the last five years. Many companies are global now, they get recruited here and posted abroad or recruited abroad and work here. They are not at all concerned about brain drain at all."
Explaining the advantages of a competitive environment he refrained from commenting on India seen as turning protectionist. However, he added, "The general folk theorem is that we should encourage competition and be a leader wherever there is a competitive advantage. There are many examples where countries actually tweak this around this around especially when national security is involved."
On criticism by Professors in Australia on the very tough nature of IIT-JEE the entrance test the Director justified saying, "Around two lakh students take the IIT JEE advances test and this is to objectively eliminate 1.85 lakh of them. Others are good too, their board marks will prove. This is more of a competition among them on who knows it better."
On questions that IIT alumni do not create significant number of jobs, he said, "Most of our alumni are in leadership positions as CEO or CTO and if companies create jobs they are responsible for them."
The management also denies complaints of clampdown on activities by a few student groups. Dr Ramamurthi said, "It's a misplaced perception and this perception arises only because there is freedom of expression."