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More vacant engineering seats in Maha due to mediocre facility:
The drop in the number of aspirants for this year's JEE (Main) has surprised academicians because it is also the first exam for entry into the IITs, besides the countless engineering colleges in the state. But admission data over last few years shows the trend has been evident for a while in Maharashtra. 

This year, over 40% seats have remained vacant in engineering institutes. The number of students admitted has also gone down from 1.02 lakh in 2013 to 89,000 in 2014 (see box). 

Experts say a glut of mediocre colleges now churns out engineering students by thousands, making them redundant. "There are too many unemployed engineering students in the state. Many opt for odd jobs or pursue a B-school degree to get good placement," said G D Yadav, vice-chancellor of Institute of Chemical Technology. "But now things are changing and students have become wiser in choosing colleges. They do not opt for colleges with poor infrastructure and faculty." 

Dayanand Meshram from the directorate of technical education said the government now planned to critically evaluate engineering colleges. "We are inviting members from the industry in this committee. We are deciding parameters to evaluate these colleges," said Meshram. Once the colleges offer quality education, students will have more quality options, he said. 

Yadav was the chairman of the state's expert committee, which conducted an analysis of vacancies in professional courses and suggested remedial action plan. The report is lying with the government, which is yet to take measures based on the recommendations of the report. One of the important suggestions was not to allow colleges additional seats and shutting down the institutes that have over 50% vacant seats. 

Officials would argue that the growing number of vacant seats in engineering was because more and more seats were being added. But data shows that the number of students admitted has also been dwindling for the last two to three years. Around 4,000 fewer students were admitted in 2013, compared to that in the previous year. In 2014-15, 13,000 fewer students took admissions to engineering institutes in the state.