Recently, the Senate approved the branch changes for the 2013 batch students. In a batch of 820, the number of students who have received a branch change after the first year is 54 this year, a significantly higher number compared to recent years since we liberalized our branch change rules last year. Given that we also allow more branch changes after the 3rd and 4th semester, one would estimate that after those two semesters, about 8 percent of the batch would have got a branch change. I believe that this would be amongst the highest percent of branch changes in the IIT system (perhaps with the exception of IIT Gandhinagar), a sign of a very liberal system.
Of course, getting into Computer Science and Engineering continued to be extremely difficult. Students needed a CPI of 10.0, and 10 students with that CPI could move to CSE. Getting into Electrical Engineering required a minimum CPI of 9.4, and I am surprised that only 10 students moved into EE. Getting into Mathematics and Scientific Computing as well as Mechanical Engineering was equally difficult, and both could accommodate students with a CPI of 8.7 or higher. Interesting to see Mathematics becoming so popular compared to many of the Engineering programs. And finally, Chemical Engineering was up for grabs at a CPI of 8.0. Branch changes to all other 7 programs was available at any CPI. This is really strange. Just a year ago, all these students would have been complaining about their rank and how they could only get Material Science and not Aerospace or any other such combination, but now when the change was available to anyone on demand, they did not apply. May be they did not expect that rules have become so liberal, or they have realized that there are exciting things happening in all branches.
It does not mean that everything is alright with the branch change process. A restriction on granting branch change only once means that if someone could get his/her 2nd choice as a branch change now, would not be able to apply for his/her 1st choice next semester or change his/her mind altogether. Prior to this restriction, there usually were either 0 such cases or 1 such case in a given batch. So what is being achieved by placing this restriction is not quite clear. But for that odd student, this is a terrible restriction.
The second problem is the minimum student strength. Departments which do nothing to attract students should not be supported artificially by placing a minimum student strength below which a branch change will not be allowed, or that limit should be low enough that every student with a decent CPI should be able to leave the department if s/he so desires.