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Bihar girl passes IIT entrance, loses seat for money

Pradeep Rai

This email is in response to above news posted on IBN live on July 24, 2007. The link to news is This is my last email to you on this sensational topic.

The findings of this email follow from my telephonic conversations and numerous email exchanges with many friends, journalists from Bihar including the senior special correspondent cum chief of bureau for CNBC & IBN/CNN under whose authorship the above story surfaced, and finally the Chairman of JEE 2007. I sincerely thank you all for your valuable inputs and I appreciate your prompt help in demystifying the story.

The protagonist of the story is Sushila. Her father’s surname is Mishra. But, she does not carry the surname. As per her school records, her name is Sushila Kumari. This is her official name throughout. I belong to the same district (West Champaran) of Sushila and I attended the same high school as Sushila. I have no personal acquaintance with Sushila or her family.

My interest in the story is purely out of concern for Sushila. Neither do I intend to blame anybody for the incident nor do I intend to seek a scapegoat. I do not want to point fingers to any one person or a group of people for the anti-climax in the story. I chose to include all the recipients in the blind carbon copy list for the sake of confidentiality and individuality. Also, I have tried to be as general as possible in the description and I am not naming any person barring Sushila. Finally, this finding is out my own concern and/or curiosity for my own Alma matter, and should not be considered as a legal investigation report.

Sushila appeared for IIT JEE 2007 on April 08, 2007. Unfortunately, she could not make it to the list of qualified candidates. Therefore, she did not receive any invitation letter from the JEE 2007 Organizing Committee to attend counseling for admissions to one of the IITs. This is the sole reason for her not joining one of the IITs.

Sushila, however, made it to the Extended Merit List of candidates, who can seek admission in to IIST (Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology) or IISER (Indian Institute of Science Education and Research) or some other institutes like T.S. Chanakya, Navi Mumbai; Marine Engineering & Research Institute (MERI), Kolkata; and Marine Engineering & Research Institute (MERI), Mumbai.

I congratulate for being in the extended merit list. IIST and IISER are relatively new initiatives of government of India and have been in existence for less than two years since their inception. Sushila got an invitation from IIST Thiruvananthapuram for Personal Counseling. For reasons best know her and her family, she did not attend the counseling. Lack of funds was cited as the primary reason as her family can’t afford to pay the required admission fee. It is really hard for me to digest it, however. Nothing could be further from the truth.

The admission policy of IIST ( states that

The institute shall be open to all Indian citizens. No test or condition shall be imposed as to religious belief or occupation in admitting or appointing members, students, teachers, and workers or in any other connection whatsoever.
No capitation fee shall be charged in any form in consideration of admission.
The Institute shall accept no benefaction that involves conditions and obligations opposed to the spirit and objects of the institution.
Assistantships, to meet the cost of education, will be provided to all students who meet the performance standard set by the Institute with a condition to serve ISRO for a period of 5 years.
The second point above clearly mentions that there is no admission fee and the fourth point promises assistantship to all its students, who promise to work for ISRO for a period of five years, to meet their living expenses. Where is the issue of finances then?

Since Sushila was in Extended Merit list as opposed to the list of Qualified Candidates, she did not receive the Rs 50,000 from the Chief Minister's Relief Fund as promised by Nitish Kumar to all successful students from the state of Bihar. This has been incorrectly portrayed as the main reason for Sushila not joining one of the IITs. Also, the total fees payable at the time of admission ( to one of the IITs ranges from Rs 14,438 (for IT-BHU) to Rs 26,991 (for IIT-M). It is nowhere close to Rs 40,000 as mentioned in the above story.

In the video accompanying the above story (, the boxed and the highlighted text at 0.18 minutes clearly reads “Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology (IIST) Thiruvananthapuram, India”. At this very instant, the voice-over says 'and also cleared IIT JEE Exam …’. The voice-over and text transcript of the IBN-CNN story completely distort the real fact typed in on the paper. This may be partly due to the misunderstanding of IIST as IIT! The paper at 0:18 minutes in the video also shows her name as Sushila Kumari, daughter of Surendra Mishra, and date of birth as 12 May 1988. I also know the registration number of the Sushila Kumari for IIT JEE 2007. If you have a compelling reason to know it, you can ask me. But, first I must be convinced that you need to know her registration number and then I must have the explicit permission of the person who provided me with the registration number of Sushila Kumari.

In another significant development on the matter, Sushila has gone to Nepal to seek admission in one of the engineering colleges there. Apparently she is getting financial help from one of her uncles. She might be trying for admission in some engineering college in Dehradun (Uttaranchal) or in Ghadwal (Haryana) for that matter, but that is immaterial now.

What is ironical here is the fact that Sushila had no money to attend one of the IITs (assuming that she was in the list of qualified candidates this year), but she can afford to study at one of the engineering colleges in Nepal!

There is no easy way to reconcile why she chose to go to some engineering college in Nepal instead of IIST Thiruvananthapuram. The only way I can rationalize is that for someone living in the village of Nadda at the Indo-Nepal border, going to Thiruvananthapuram is like traveling seven seas across (more than 3000 kilometers in distance), but Nepal is just the neighboring state. Corollary to this rationalization is the fact that the financial situation of the family is not as bad as it appears in the story. According to one source, her father is ex-Mukhiya (village head) of the Nadda village, which is not a position of any salary, but definitely demands lots of respect and influence in the village.

To conclude, Sushila’s dreams of making it to IIT might just remain that -- a dream! This is entirely because Sushila has not cleared IIT JEE 2007 for admissions to one of the IITs. I wish her all the best in her future endeavors.

Pradeep Rai




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