The history of the IIT system dates back to 1946 when a committee was set up by Hon'ble Sir Jogendra Singh, Member of the Viceroy's Executive Council, Department of Education, Health and Agriculture to consider the setting up of Higher Technical Institutions for post war industrial development in India. The 22 member committee headed by Sri N.R.Sarkar, in its report, recommended the establishment of four Higher Technical Institutions in the Eastern, Western, Northern and Southern regions, possibly on the lines of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA, with a number of secondary institutions affiliated to it. The report also urged the speedy establishment of all the four institutions with the ones in the East and the West to be started immediately. The committee also felt that such institutes would not only produce undergraduates but they should be engaged in research, producing research workers and technical teachers as well. The standard of the graduates should be at par with those from first class institutions abroad. They felt that the proportion of undergraduates and postgraduate students should be 2:1.
With the above recommendations of the Sarkar committee in view, the first Indian Institute of Technology was born in May 1950 in Hijli, Kharagpur, in the eastern part of India.
Initially the IIT started functioning from 5, Esplanade East, Calcutta and very soon shifted to Hijli in Sept. 1950. The present name 'Indian Institute of Technology' was adopted before the formal inauguration of the Institute on August 18, 1951, by Maulana Abul Kalam Azad.
The Institute was fortunate enough to have Sir J.C.Ghosh, an eminent Scientist as its first Director under whose able stewadship the Institute grew in its formative years. The first Board of Governors was constituted with Dr. B.C. Roy, as the chairman and Mr. N.R.Sarkar, Sir Jehangir J. Gandhi, Dr. Tarachand, Mr. K.R.K. Menon, Mr. T. Sivasankar, Dr. S.S. Bhatnagar, Mr. H. Kabir and Dr. J.C. Ghosh as memebers. Some eminent scholars from Europe had joined this Institute in its formative years and the first two of them were Prof. R.A. Kraus and Prof.H. Tischner, who was incidentally the first Head of Electronics and ECE Department.
On Sept. 15, 1956, the Parliament of India passed an act known as the Indian Institute of Technology(Kharagpur) Act declaring this Institute as an Institute of national importance. The Institute was also given the status of an autonomous University. From this modest start in 1950, IIT Kharagpur has been engaged in a steady process of development with about 18 academic departments, five centres of excellence. the vast tree-laden campus, spreading over 2100 acres has a self contained township of over 15,000 inhabitants. Currently we have about 450 faculty, 2200 employees and 2700 students on the campus.
These details have been retrieved from www.iitkgp.ac.in