The HRD Ministry has favoured a joint review of IIT degrees both by the UGC and the premier technical institute following a fresh controversy over the commission's directive to align IIT courses along the lines of those recognised by it.
The Ministry has suggested both to hammer out an "appropriate solution" as University Grants Commission maintains that some of the IIT programmes are not in conformity with those recognised by it, officials said.
IIT-Kanpur offers four-year undergraduate programmes such as Bachelors in Science (BS) in Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics and Economics, while UGC's list of recognised degrees only allows for a four-year BSc degree.
The UGC directive to IIT-Kharagpur director has come as a "surprise" to the IITs which insist that they are not governed by the UGC Act but the Act of Parliament and IIT Council and therefore are empowered to "institute courses of study" without the need to seek approval of the Commission.
The direction from the UGC, the apex regulatory body governing higher education in the country, was sent to director of IIT Kharagpur, months after it asked Delhi University to scrap its four-year-undergraduate programme and sent instructions to some other institutes including Indian Institute of Science (IISc) Bangalore to align their courses.
The Commission had on July 5 issued a gazette notification after the Delhi University controversy listing out all the recognised degrees.
With IITs asking for a clarification about the powers and the autonomy enjoyed by it to institute own degrees, the Ministry has opined that the provisions of the UGC Act 1956 and IIT Act 1961 should be "construed" in a harmonious manner rather than exclusion of the other.
It has also underlined the fact that the expression 'degrees' is not defined in the IIT Act, 1961.
Therefore, "It would be more appropriate at this state if the Director IIT Kharagpur lists the various degrees which he feels are not in conformity with the list of UGC specified degrees.
"The exact mismatch between IIT Kharagpur degrees and the UGC specified degrees may have to be reviewed jointly by IIT Kharagpur and UGC and an appropriate solution worked out considering the student interests at stake," the Ministry has suggested.