From the first Five-year Plan onwards, India's emphasis was to develop a pool of scientifically inclined manpower. India's National Policy on Education (NPE) provisioned for an apex body for regulation and development of higher technical education, which came into being as the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) in 1987 through an act of the Indian parliament. At the federal level, the Indian Institutes of Technology, the Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology, the National Institutes of Technology and the Indian Institutes of Information Technology are deemed of national importance.
The Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) and National Institutes of Technology (NITs) are among the nation's premier education facilities.
Indian Institute of Technology, Roorkee
The UGC has inter-university centres at a number of locations throughout India to promote common research, e.g. the Nuclear Science Centre at the Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. Besides there are some British established colleges such as Harcourt Butler Technological Institute situated in Kanpur and King George Medical University situated in Lucknow which are important centre of higher education.
Central Universities such as Banaras Hindu University, Jamia Millia Islamia University, Delhi University, Mumbai University, University of Calcutta, Jadavpur University etc. too are pioneers of technical education in the country.
In addition to above institutes, efforts towards the enhancement of technical education are supplemented by a number of recognised Professional Engineering Societies such as:
Institution of Engineers (India)
Institution of Civil Engineers (India)
Institution of Mechanical Engineers (India)
Institution of Chemical Engineering (India)
Institution of Electronics and Tele-Communication Engineers (India)
Indian Institute of Metals
Institution of Industrial Engineers (India)
Institute of Town Planners (India)
Indian Institute of Architects
that conduct Engineering/Technical Examinations at different levels (Degree and diploma) for working professionals desirous of improving their technical qualifications.
The number of graduates coming out of technical colleges increased to over 7 lakh in 2011 from 5.5 lakh in FY 2010. However, according to one study, 75% of technical graduates and more than 85% of general graduates lack the skills needed in India's most demanding and high-growth global industries such as Information Technology. These high-tech global information technologies companies directly or indirectly employ about 23 lakh people, less than 1% of India's labour pool. India offers one of the largest pool of technically skilled graduates in the world. Given the sheer numbers of students seeking education in engineering, science and mathematics, India faces daunting challenges in scaling up capacity while maintaining quality.
The All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) is the statutory body and a national-level council for technical education, under Department of Higher Education, Ministry of Human Resource Development. Established in November 1945 first as an advisory body and later on in 1987 given statutory status by an Act of Parliament, AICTE is responsible for proper planning and coordinated development of the technical education and management education system in India. The AICTE accredits postgraduate and graduate programs under specific categories at Indian institutions as per its charter.
It is assisted by 10 Statutory Boards of Studies, namely, UG Studies in Eng. & Tech., PG and Research in Eng. and Tech., Management Studies, Vocational Education, Technical Education, Pharmaceutical Education, Architecture, Hotel Management and Catering Technology, Information Technology, Town and Country Planning. The AICTE has its new headquarters building in Delhi on the Nelson Mandela Road, Vasant Kunj, New Delhi, 110 067, which has the offices of the chairman, vice-chairman and the member secretary, plus it has regional offices at Kanpur, Chandigarh, Gurgaon, Mumbai, Bhopal, Vadodara, Kolkata, Guwahati, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Chennai and Thiruvananthapuram.
In its 25 April 2013 judgement the Supreme Court said "as per provisions of the AICTE Act and University Grants Commission (UGC) Act, the council has no authority which empowers it to issue or enforce any sanctions on colleges affiliated with the universities as its role is to provide guidance and recommendations.Subsequently AICTE was getting approval from the Supreme court to regulate technical colleges on a year to year basis till January 2016, when AICTE got blanket approval for publishing the Approval Process Handbook and approve technical colleges including management for the session 2016-17 and in all future sessions.