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IITs raise funds to help students in emergencies: Prof. Mahesh Panchagnula

IITs raise funds to help students in emergencies: Prof. Mahesh Panchagnula

As Covid-19 cases continue to rise in several parts of the country, various Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) are helping students financially to tide through medical emergencies.

Many IITs have set up benevolent funds, raising funds from alumni networks, to help their students pay for hospitals, oxygen cylinders and ventilators. Last week, IIT Kanpur launched a donation drive ‘Covid-19 Relief Fund’ for the purpose.

IIT-Bombay (IIT-B), is currently undertaking a student survey to identify those who are in financial emergencies or have lost earning members of families. Students are being primarily classified into three categories- those who have tested positive and are under economic distress, those who haven’t tested positive but are in financial distress, and those whose family members have tested positive and are in financial distress.

“We will soon kick off a drive to raise funds from alumni to take care of such students. On a priority basis, students from these categories will be provided with help to pay for their fees and other charges,” said Tapanendu Kundu, professor and dean, student affairs, IIT-B. This is aside from the benevolent fund that takes care of students with their hostel and mess charges.

Since the pandemic broke out last year, IIT Madras has formed a Covid Relief Fund to support students and faculty who are in distress due to the medical exigencies caused by the pandemic. “In the last financial year (FY’21), IIT Madras raised as much as Rs. 96 lakh to cater to the Covid relief requirements of students and employees of IIT Madras. There is also a clear proposal to upgrade the medical infrastructure within the campus to cater to any potential requirements that may arise as it re-opens the campus to receive students, as and when the lockdown conditions are lifted and the threat of the pandemic eases out,” said professor Mahesh Panchagnula, dean (alumni and corporate relations), IIT Madras.

Besides this, IIT Madras launched campaigns to raise funds for procuring oxygen concentrators in the United States of America. The Institute exceeded its goal of raising $1 million in 48 hours.

“The total funds raised is $1.25 million (as of 10th May 2021). The institute has also received close to ₹15 lakh from Indian alumni. In the first phase, the institute plans to donate oxygen concentrators to the government of Tamil Nadu. Its senior alumni who are IAS officers and working with the government are helping the institute to coordinate the whole gamut of activities. These oxygen concentrators will subsequently be deployed in government hospitals. The institute plans to extend support to other state governments in the subsequent phases as it continues to receive donations from alumni,” Panchagnula added.

IIT Delhi director V Ramgopal Rao said the institute set up a benevolent fund last year. “We have spent over ₹30 lakhs from this fund to support everyone dependent on the institute since April last year. We need to do more,” he added.

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