Narayan Murthy On IITs - Counterview

Narayan Murthy, while speaking at IIT-Gandhinagar said that the Indian Institutes Of Technology and IIMs have lost their old sheen. The institutes do not focus on research and there are very few world class researchers these institutes produce. Murthy quotes the 2004 statistics in his address saying "In 2004, China produced 2,652 PhDs in Computer Science while in that year, India produced only 24". He continues with
"In the last 15 to 20 years, IITs have lost all the sheen that they had once upon a time. In 1967, at the electrical engineering department of IIT-Kanpur there were about 60 to 70 students registered for PhD. But today, at the same department if there are five PhD students joining in a year, that would be fantastic."
I decided to present a counter-view -

I'd not just rely on IITs or IIMs for the world class engineers from India. While it might be a fact that there are very few 'world-class' researchers and engineers being produced from IITs, the bigger question is 'why?'. Narayana Murthy blames the mushrooming IIT coaching classes. I believe there's a greater driver which accelerates the engineering production in terms of quantity than quantity.

Let's first think what the Industries offer to the world class engineers? A company like Infosys takes pride in offering services which have a minimum 'research' component. Even if we produce a world-class engineer, and don't offer him/her a way to implement his world-class research - all his knowledge would go waste. I wish to know how many companies in various engineering domains are focusing on research and badly needs world class engineers?

Unless the industry prepares itself, there's no point in blaming the institutes. They're just producing what the industry needs. If the industry starts recruiting world class researchers - then the institutes will have no option but to produce them.

PS: Pardon my grammar and typos, if any 😀. Share your views.


  • Farjand
    May be the reason is, Indians are running more after money and doing MBA after their graduation (not necessarily from IITs) and secure a FAT salaried job. We are also aware of fact that people join engineering discipline just because it is in demand. We should ask ourselves are we really interested in going for engineering? It is better to leave higher educational institutions for interested people.

    P.S: It should be noted that my views are not limited to IITs.
  • Kaustubh Katdare
    Kaustubh Katdare
    My point is that if the industry does not offer 'intellectual' jobs, where would these talented engineers go?
  • Farjand
    As you are involving Infosys founder, I am limiting myself to the Indian context. The only I possible idea I can think of is the brain drain. talented Indians go abroad for a better future. This is the answer to your question. Where do they go?

    Even also, if you leave software industry then not many frequent changes are observed in core field, as far as I know. To be a little more elastic, I would say the changes are rather slow. The talented people being less in number can easily get fitted into the system.

    For software (and for every field), yes we require more people and situation is grave, I admit.

    I read an article by Kaustubh Katdare in 'voice'. He has presented Narayana Murthy's view on this topic. The less number is also evident from the fact that India can produce only 100 for 2652 Chinese scholars (fact from the same article, read comment).
  • Smell Smoke
    Smell Smoke
    Infosys being an IT company does recruit a huge number of engineers and do give a dream like place to learn computer science. But the opportunities given for those engineers geared up to do an innovative job is limited by the projects they grab. I disagree with Big_K When saying Infosys is not doing any innovative work. They have a research department in the company which does look into many top notch engineering works in the IT field, but unfortunate truth is that, they are never entering into the tag name of a product company . That might be a blamed on the Company for not bringing its work out of the four walls which surround the name ,Infosys.

    Being an IIT ian himself and being one among the recruiter, i believe he has every right to scale the institute. I would like to add a comment that the innovations coming out of other engineering colleges should also be highlighted .The IIT's should not always own the limelight, so that people will start believing that innovation is not limited for IIT ians.
  • Kaustubh Katdare
    Kaustubh Katdare
    I've not heard any innovative product/service coming out of Infosys. Yes, they do have few products in the finance/banking domain. I've been a tech blogger for years now and I have hard time remembering when I wrote about innovation coming out of IITs, NITs, Regional Engineering Colleges or Private Engineering colleges. The same applies to major IT services companies too.

    I'd love to be proven wrong.
    I'd love to be proven wrong.
    Forgot about #-Link-Snipped-#? But yes, the rate of innovation is quite less. Actually NIL.

    That is because Arjun Singh-the then HR minister, UPA Government. Let it be all is done and over.
  • Smell Smoke
    Smell Smoke
    Yes, I was referring to the same. Had heard about that pico satellite launched by SRM university and felt proud about it.


    About the products from infosys, Innovations are happening, but those are being used for the companies who are the clients of Infosys. They themselves are not coming out with the innovations made inside in the form of products.
  • Ankita Katdare
    Ankita Katdare
    Smell Smoke
    They themselves are not coming out with the innovations made inside in the form of products.
    That is what we need, right? Products. Cutting-edge, path-breaking products.
  • sanchitideas
    IITs don't produce the grads that Murthy wants - who'd be willing to be stuck up in a boring job with a paltry salary.

    In case you didn't already know, most of the jobs offered to IITians these days are in Finance & Consulting sectors. These industries require analysts & consultants with high aptitude, analytical ability & problem solving skills. IITians fill the slot.

    I could have googled & provided the stats from various newspapers' websites, but I'm too lazy for that. Anyway, do that yourself. Stats don't lie! (UPDATE : See this - #-Link-Snipped-#)

    Companies like Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, Boston Consulting Group McKinsey, Bain, Morgan Stanley & the like are not stupid - they get what they want - intelligent people.

    Besides, who'd go for a job in Infosys when Google is offering 20-21 LPA to IITians(on-campus) in India?

    Yeah, one qualm I have is that the number of good potential researchers decreases due to 'ruthless poaching of IITians' by Finance & Consulting companies, that results in dwindling of the research-talent-pool.

    & I do agree that the industry would have to change itself.
    For all who think Indian software companies have/recruit world class engineers. I was watching a TV Reality show, in which the anchor asked a question to a software engineer

    The question was:
    "What does R stand in RAM?"

    I suppose everyone knows, i'm talking about Computer RAM. That software engineer did not know the answer for that, and he's a software engineer. And the best and amazing part was that he was the software engineer from renowned company 'Infosys'.

    So, people stop thinking that Indian IT companies are world class, they just do simple programming jobs and most of the times there is no innovation in them.
  • Kaustubh Katdare
    Kaustubh Katdare
    #-Link-Snipped-# : You might want to follow up this thread: - #-Link-Snipped-#

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