All these changes are applicable to students who are getting admitted to IIT Kanpur in 2011.
In my opinion, the Institute should attempt to make all options (or as many as possible) available to existing students as well. What that means is that the existing BTech-MTech dual-degree students should have an option to change to BTech degree only (this should be easy to implement for Y10, Y09, and Y08 batches, if not Y07 batch). It should be possible for an existing student to spend extra time and get another undergraduate degree. Again, this should be easy to implement for Y10 and Y09 batches, while Y08 batches may have to spend not just 2 semesters extra, but 3 semesters extra. It should be possible for existing students to opt for a minor. Again, trivial to implement for Y10 batch, and certainly something can be worked out for most Y09 batch students.
Why should such a flexibility be extended to existing students is the question many faculty members have asked me.
My argument is simple. Whenever we decide on a change, it is because we think that in today's context, the new rule/system is better than the old rule/system. Otherwise, we would not have decided on that change. If the new system is better, then the benefit of that "better" system should be available to as many people as possible.
So any change that we approve for Y11 batch, we should also look into the possibility of making it available to existing students. Of course, we may come to the conclusion that there is no easy way to incorporate the new system into the old, and therefore, we can't extend the benefit to the old students. But, in general, the benefit of any good idea should be extended to as many stake holders as possible.
Now, of course, those stake holders may have a different point of view, and they may consider the old system to be beneficial to them in some way. Therefore, most good universities, when they decide on something new, give an option to the existing students that they can follow either the old system or the new system (except, as I said above, in cases where adapting new system for old students is very difficult).
Faculty members argue that if we extend any benefit to existing students, then we will be unfair to those students who did not take admission to IIT Kanpur, because they were told about the existing rules then. Hmmm. So we want to be more fair to those who did not take admission to IIT Kanpur, and less fair to those who did take admission to IIT Kanpur.
By this logic, we cannot provide any significant benefit to existing students that we did not announce at the admission time. We cannot, for example, change branch change rules for existing students. An extreme example of this logic would be the following: We should not allow existing students to use the latest sporting facilities, since they were not told about it at the time of admission. If we had told about the upcoming facilities then, perhaps others would have been attracted to IITK, and the current students would not have been able to get admission. So by allowing such an access, we are being unfair to all those who did not take admission to IITK then.