Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru pioneered establishing of the Indian Institutes of Technology to provide trained technical personnel of international class to the nation who would act as leaders in technology for the newly born independent India.
Today, the institutes are globally recognized as centres of academic excellence, and are reputed for the outstanding caliber of the students graduating from them.
Administration: A Central Statute, the Institutes of Technology Act, 1961 declared the IITs to be ‘Institutes of National Importance’. This Act created a unique framework for the funding, administration and academic development of the IITs as privileged institutions, confers a high degree of autonomy on the system and protects it from extra-academic pressures. The Central Government provides grants of each IIT, after due appropriation made by the Parliament. The President of India is the Visitor of all IITs. In order to co-ordinate the activities of all the IITs, there is central body named as ‘Council of IITs’ , which is headed ex-officio by the Union Minister of Human Resource & Development.
History: In May 1950, the first in the series was established in Kharagpur. Within a decade of the launch of the first IIT, four more were set up: IIT Bombay (1958), IIT Madras (1959), IIT Kanpur (1959), and IIT Delhi (1961). Decades later, the sixth IIT was established in Guwahati (1994). India's first technical institute, set up in 1847 and known as the Thomson College of Engineering and subsequently the University of Roorkee, was ordained as the seventh IIT in September 2001. In the year 2008, six new IITs were started, followed by two more IITs in 2009 and in 2012, the Institute of Technology, BHU was designated the sixteenth IIT.
During the early years, the IITs benefited in varying degrees from material assistance and academic cooperation from developed countries --- IIT Bombay from the Soviet Union, IIT Madras from Germany, IIT Kanpur from the United States, and IIT Delhi from the United Kingdom.