If you are an engineering aspirant from Maharashtra, your seat is confirmed even if you have scored zero or less in the joint entrance exam (JEE Main) 2014 for which results were declared a fortnight ago.
As per new rules specified by the Directorate of Technical Education (DTE), even candidates scoring zero or negative marks in JEE will be eligible for admission to engineering courses, provided they score at least 50% aggregate (45% for reserved category) in physics, chemistry and mathematics (PCM) in their board exams.
A high number of vacant seats in engineering institutions has prompted DTE to relax the norms.
Though over 2.45 lakh candidates appeared in JEE (Main) from Maharashtra as against the 1.5 lakh available seats in 360 engineering colleges, DTE expects a large number of seats to remain vacant at the end of the admission season considering the past record.
Over 39,000 seats remained vacant across the state in 2013-14. The trend is attributed to many factors, including flocking of students to other states and preference to some BSc subjects (computer science and IT) in good colleges over poorly equipped engineering institutes.
Till last year, the admissions were done through MHT-CET and any score above zero was enough for eligibility. It was decided to discontinue consideration of MHT-CET score from this year. This year, for the first time, state will give equal weightage to Std XII marks and JEE score for admission.
"The merit list will be based on 50% weightage to both JEE (Main) and board exam (PCM subjects) marks," technical education director Subhash Mahajan said.
Those scoring less than 50% in PCM in board exams won't be eligible. "Till last year, the eligibility criteria were 45% aggregate for open category and 40% for SC/ST in Std XII board exams. That has been changed to 50% PCM aggregate," said Mahajan.
He admitted there was confusion among students and parents but advised them to visit the DTE website for accurate details.
"A government resolution was issued on October 31, 2012, that clarified everything. It also made it clear that marks of JEE (Advance) would not be taken into consideration. For students hailing from other boards (CBSE, ICSE), their score will be converted into percentile as per norms of Indian Statistical Institute," Mahajan said.
Admissions to even autonomous colleges ICT and VJTI in Matunga will be done through the JEE score and there will be four rounds of centralised admission process that will begin after the HSC results are declared.
Last year, over 52,400 seats had remained vacant in Maharashtra's 365 colleges, a trend that is being seen for four to five years. They said confusion over JEE score and the new condition of 50% PCM marks may drive many away and government would have rethink its decision, just like it did for MBA, where the Common Management Admission Test had resulted in students preferring to stay away from management courses.