The Union Cabinet on Thursday approved the setting up of nine new National Institutes of Technology (NITs); taking their number to 29 across the country. While the process of establishing the new NITs will get underway immediately, the first round of admissions will begin in the next academic year and classes will be held in mentor NITs or campuses taken on lease.

The new NITs will be set up in Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Goa, Puducherry, Sikkim, Delhi and Uttarakhand. The Goa NIT will cater to the Union Territories of Daman & Diu, Dadra & Nagar Haveli and Lakshadweep, the Puducherry NIT will cover Andaman & Nicobar Islands, and Chandigarh will come under the Delhi NIT.

Barring the Delhi and Uttarakhand NITs, all other new NITs will be established at a cost of Rs. 250 crore each. In the case of Delhi and Uttarakhand NITs, the cost estimate is higher at Rs. 300 crore. Work for construction of the new campuses will begin as soon as State Governments provide land free-of-cost.

By setting up these new NITs, the Union Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry hopes to cover all those States and Union Territories which till date have remained uncovered by the NIT network. This will locally address some of the demand for engineering education in these States as 50 per cent of the seats have to be filled from within while the remaining seats are to be filled on an all-India merit basis.

Of the 20 existing NITs, 17 used to be Regional Engineering Colleges. They were taken over as fully funded institutes of the Central Government, granted deemed university status and rechristened NITs in 2003 by the Murli Manohar Joshi regime in the HRD Ministry.