Dharwad–The central government would soon grant new scholarships worth Rs 60,000 per month for five years to students of Indian Institute of Technology (IITs) selected to promote innovation, an IIT official said on Monday.

“Though there are many scholarships for various courses and research projects, this is the first time the government is offering a big amount (Rs.60,000) per month to promote innovation in IITs,” IIT-Dharwad dean Narayan Punekar told IANS here.

Announcing the new scholarship scheme on Sunday after formally unveiling the new IIT-Dharwad here, about 420km from Bengaluru, Union Human Resources Development Minister Prakash Javadekar said his ministry would invite innovative ideas from students and the best among the selected would be given Rs 60,000 per month for five years.

“The new scheme is to encourage IIT students to innovate for the growth of industries and groom them into entrepreneurs while studying for degree. You sell your ideas and we (government) will fund them,” Javadekar told about 120 students, who joined the institute a month ago from across the country.

The minister also assured the first batch of students of the new IIT in the state of building its new campus at the sprawling 470 acres of land the state government has allotted at nearby Kelgeri town free of cost.

The institute is mentored byAIIT-Bombay for the next three years, with its faculty on deputation till new faculty is recruited.

Reiterating the government’s commitment to promote the growth of higher education with thrust on research, the minister said more funds would be provided to ensure more eligible students get scholarships for research and innovation.

As the 23rd IIT in the country, the institute started the new academic year on August 2, holding classes at the state-run Water and Land Management Institute (Walmi) on the city’s outskirts till its permanent campus is built in the next three years.

“We are teaching three courses – mechanical, electrical and computer science in the first year, with 40 students in each section. We will offer more courses from next year as we add a fresh batch of 120 students every year,” Punekar added.