Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Proposal for change of demands rather than stipend hike for TIFR graduate students

{Blogging seems to reveal a lot about the skewed priorities of the world. When I wrote about some large-scale issues like reactive self-perception theory or use of technology in elections or nuclear disarmament, nobody ever cared to read the blogs. Now when I write about some very narrow local petty issue of salary hike etc lots of people are reading it and commenting about it!

It seems that we prefer to be living in a radiation filled world and get blown up with nuclear weapons as long as we are paid a high salary.}

I would urge the reader to look at the 17th comment on this blog where I have made more efforts to clarify some of the important counter points raised by a batch mate of mine in the 16th comment.

TIFR never leaves me searching for topics to write about. Almost always something debatable is happening here. So here I find myself in the midst of a huge hullabaloo going on about some students asking the authorities for a stipend hike suposedly in accordance with the UGC rules. And off-late many have decided to sit in silent protest infont of the main canteen for 2 hours daily for a week demanding that their requests be met. Apparently they are disappointed that neither the director is meeting them nor is any progress happening with their demands. I have also been receiving many emails from the coordinators asking me to join the General Body Meetings that they organize for this and to join this demonstration.

I have not attended any of the GBMs or the demonstrations. Simply because I am not convinced of the reasonableness of their demands. I am pretty disappointed at the adoption of such cheap means of protest and TIFR students denting the dignity of the instiute and their own image by choosing such coarse techniques such as mass demonstrations even if silent.

Before jumping to calling me an "elitist", let me list 8 objections and weaknesses that I see with this entire scheme of things,

{Or you can jump to the last italicized paragraph where a person I know for quite some time has summarized what all I have to say here}

Basically I think there are much more important, pertinent and useful ways in which government can pump in necessary money into TIFR rather than increase of salaries. There are issues far higher in priority and areas of monetary deficit where government can pump in money rather than salaries. Along this article I shall propose various such alternative ways of sending money into the institute which are likely to have greater positive impact than just a slary hike.

1. I know students in TIFR who have recently bought cycles costing upto 15000Rs and I have myself bought an Apple iPoD of the same cost from my stipend. We students of TIFR seem capable of affording such objects of luxury beyond fulfilling our essential needs of roti-kapda-makan-internet. None of us are dying of poverty.

Hence I 't see a real "need" for a hike in the salary.

2. There are students in TIFR whose families are dependent on their stipends and they have to send a good fraction of their stipend home to sustain their families. This is the segment of the population which really needs a hike.

Why not put in a precise demand for a need-based-scholarship for such students? Why not ask the authorities to set up a committee to accept applications from such needy students and grant specific scholarships to them on a case-by-case basis.

I am disappointed that this specific demand doesn't seem to have been made.

In general a flat hike to everyone seems quite debatable. One can ask for more incentive based hikes like ask for a rewarding system for students which will increase their salaries by a certain fraction everytime they publish a paper or give a seminar in some international conference. (modulo all the debates of how you can compare quality of research papers etc, one person's single paper might be more non-trivial than another person's 5 papers. I think these questions are secondary here and can be tackled later)

Such hike would definitely add more accountability to the money being spent by the government. It would surely make the student feel more cared for as he/she gets rewarded for efforts and the government can also feel the money getting well spent.

Or why not ask for a salary hike with some added quality check like cutting down the TIFR intake by say half and then doubling the salary ?

Otherwise what is the guarantee that a flat hike in the salaries will not merely add to the sales of the local bar 'Gokul" ?

Is there any guarantee that a flat hike in the salary will actually channelize money into useful directions?

Is there any guarantee that increase in salary will actually make the people refrain from such corrupt practices like photocopying books and downloading pirated movies and books from Gigapedia?

Will just a pay hike ensure that the students actually buy more books and buy the movie DVDs that they want to watch instead of using BitTorrent?

I don't see any such guarantee of good effects of just a flat salary hike.

3. One can surely say that a hike in the salary of graduate students will have little effect in drawing the top-notch students of colleges like CMI, ISI, and IIT to join TIFR for graduate studies. (I have interacted most with students from these 3 instututes) Even if the salary be made 50000Rs per month the top people of these collegs are unlikely to consider TIFR over a place in Princeton or Harvard or a job in an MNC. 50000Rs will be peanuts to the best students of these places since they are looking for and are getting much more deeper returns from their studies than just a big salary.

With even a tripling of the salary TIFR is likely to still lose out on almost all of the of the best people from CMI, ISI and IIT who don't seem to see the incentives here that they see in the options elsewhere. With reasonable confidence I can say that the incentive is not a big salary.

4. None of the mails that I have been sent give me a primary reference proof of the claimed fact that the government has indeed made a rule about stipend hike. The only document I ever received was a clipping from a newspaper (Page 9 of August 18, 2009 Hindustan Times epaper). Now a newspaper report is a secondary reference and definitely not an official document. Who is to say that the article was not just the reporter's day dream?

Apparently they claim to have primary reference but for reasons unknown to me they cannot be shared with us.

5. None of the emails to me state precisely what are the demands they are making and why? Any arbit person on the street can come and shout at the governmnet that "I want more money". So? Should the governmnet pay more money to whoever comes screaming at it? The organizers don't seem to state any clear reasons in any email as to why the hike is being asked for.

6. Apart from the general lack of precision and thinking in the emails that I receive in this regard one is also repelled by the general sense of hype and senstionalism around about it. Many people campaiging for the hike don't seem to have done enough studies about the rule and laws and pros and cons of it. Much isbeing driven by local limited imagination. Most people seem to have conjured up their own personal reasons for why they want a hike and there doesn't seem to be a common consensus. For example some of reasons that I heard from the students are like,

a) I should be paid enough salary so that I can marry and have a family. I am of marriable age and the government should provide me enough money to fulfill this dream.

{One is free to dream whatever one wants. Why should the government go about fulfilling every dream of every person?}

b) I support the hike since the price of food in the canteen has risen by 20% and hence government should compensate for that.

{Seems this person is confused between the idea of a D.A and a salary. And moreover the prices of objects are fluctuations in local economics and government can't implement rules based on such flimsy statistics. One can argue that in the converse scenario the government is likely to reduce the salary once the prices come down. Will that be acceptable?}

c) I want more salary because I think the 12000Rs that I get is too low compared to my peer group who work in IT jobs.

{Then why didn't you join it? I am sure you saw some benifits in joining a research career than an IT job when you made the decision. Has that reason suddenly disapeared?}

d) It is a fight for legal justice since government normally follows the principle that people with equal qualification should be paid equally and the scientific officers of TIFR who have equal or less qualification than the graduate students are paid about triple the graduate students.

{Why should qualification be a criteria for the amount of salary given by the government? I am not sure. I would find it more reasonable if the salary is a function of the impact factor of the job or the importance of it measured in some scale that the government chooses. One can have 3 Nobel Prizes hung up in one's living room and then be a complete drunkard all the day. Hence contributing nothing to anyone. Now should the government pay this person more than others based on his/her past deeds knowing that the money now goes to the wine shop?}

7. Moreover this counting of the salary as 12000Rs is just simply misleading. One should add to it the fact that the TIFR student gets free lodging in Colaba in Mumbai near the sea-shore! Colaba in Mumbai is definitely one of the costliest places to live in India and that too near the sea-shore a plot of land will be worth its weight in gold. Further as a student in TIFR one gets extremely subsidized food and free broadband connection. In this region of the world food and broadband are both costly and here in TIFR one gets one at very low prices and the other for free. So one is being extremely narrow in one's vision by doing such a reductionaist count of the salary.

One notes that the grad students in the US pay for their housing from their own stipend. And house rents near universities like Cornell can be as high as 600$ a month. All this is completely factored out as a student in TIFR. And the pristine location near the sea makes the housing option here far more attractive and costlier. All this one gets for free in TIFR. And the first year students are kept in far more luxurious apartment alsbeit very very far from the instutute and probably the travelling pain nullifies the apartment grandeur.

I would have found it more reasonable if I saw the first year students on a protest demanding housing near TIFR than how painfully far they have to live. Such a protest makes more sense.

Like a another student in TIFR said that he would want to see the kids in the campus protesting against why there is only one badminston court.

I can think of many more reasons for putting up demonstrations and protests in TIFR like,

a) Demand for better classes and lectures.
b) Demand for a complete overhaul of the library (it has currently practically gone defunct! Over the last few months most astrophysics books I have gone looking for have either been lost or stolen or there is only 1 copy issued by someone else. Almost never do I find any book in the library for any of my courses.)
c) Demand for repair of the seeping doors and roofs of Theoretical Physics students room.
d) Demand for fair and transparent grading systems.
e) Demand for upgrade of some of the labs.
f) Demand for better sanitation systems in some of the hostels.
g) Demand for a proper cricket and a football ground.
h) Demand for more shelves to keep books and cubicles.

I would have happily gone and stood for demonstrations demanding any of these things.

But never do I find people so keen on putting up demonstrations and protests demanding these things which seem to me to be of far greater importance than just putting money in the pockets of students. I wonder how many people will be ready to stand for demonstartions for a week for any of these demands.

If one is looking for money from the governmnet then why not ask it in the form of specific upgrades and new facilities? Almost always there is more to be gained by getting money used in building resources of common benifit rather than putting it in the pockets of individuals.

8. One has very little justification being here in TIFR and to ask for stipends comparable to US grad school since a major component of their stipend is a kind of payment they get for TA and RA duties. Unfortunately this idea hasn't come to TIFR in any major way beyond the idea of a "grader" which is just correction of assignments. One should probably make teaching tutorial courses compulsory for the TIFR students to ensure that the next generation of teachers are not of the same inspirng quality that we have to put up with! I can very well say that almost all the TIFR students I know are completely incapable of teaching and that explains the quality of teaching in general in India. One needs to take the job of teaching far more seriously and like Harvard we should probably have courses for students and graders on how to teach and awards for good teaching.

Unfortunate scenario is that some of the "top" students of TIFR would be reluctant to attend classes on how to teach or be willing to take up duties of regular tutorial teaching. It is an interesting paradox that many people who complain of terrible teaching in the classes are themselves reluctant to take up teaching duties. Such hipocrisy lies at the heart of the jeopardized Indian academic scenario.

A stipend hike would make a lot more sense if the students are ready to take up regular RA and TA jobs and demand the hike as a payment for it.

Conclusively I see little reasons why the administration should concede to the demands of the students as they stand now. There is definitely a need for greater money and resources to be pumped into TIFR but a salary hike is definitely not the way to get that in!

Finally let me quote here what Vipul had to say about the entire issue.
He has nicely crystalized many of my amorphous feelings,

``I don't think there is any problem with higher pay per se, but
increasing pay without increasing accountability or answerability
usually has no effect. It might have the effect of attracting somewhat
more talented people into TIFR over the longer term, because
competition for the higher pay will prompt people to try harder for

However, I think the stipend at TIFR is pretty reasonable considering
that most of you don't have any responsibilities other than research
(once you pass your courses). May be it needs to be increased by about
25-30%, but doubling or tripling it seems out of order, particularly
when you also consider that hostel fees are heavily subsidized in TIFR
as well. Most universities in the United States that offer higher
stipends (after controlling for the cost of living, the lack of
subsidy for living costs, etc.) also have students teach or grade plenty of
undergraduate homework -- for instance, last year I was TA for the
undergraduate algebra sequence, and this year I am teaching calculus
to first-years. Besides, at least part of the money for higher pay
comes from the tuition that undergraduates are charged. TIFR doesn't
even have undergraduate education, so almost all the higher pay will
come at taxpayer expense with little in return for the
taxpayer. Perhaps students at TIFR who seek more money should try to
get TIFR to tie in with local undergraduate colleges to offer their
services and help with teaching and grading undergraduate courses."

PS: Experience has made me aware of the many block-headed questions that one gets asked when one is trying to move out of the common road being walked by others. Here one such head-strong question that I guess many will be asking me is "If the demands are met and the salary hike does happen, will you return the extra money since you claim not to need it?"

Ans: I would not. (At this the the person asking me the question might feel a great sense of having drawn first blood and I can hear his/her jeering laughter arising from his/her illusory sense of victory) Firstly I know from previous experiences that returning money to the government can be a very troublesome process and I would like to save that trouble. Secondly in my second point I have said all the possible good effects that a raise in salary can have but is not all assured. At least I can try in my personal case to ensure that the good effects do happen. May be I can then buy some more of the costly books that I am refraining from buying now and mitigate to some extent the corruption caused by many others who photocopy books.


Vikrant said...

I think, you are too young to realize the reasonableness of their demand. I am sure you will soon meet the real world, may be in coming 3-4 years.


Mombasa said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mombasa said...

I think you in particular should be given no salary. You don't do research instead waste time on writing senseless blog posts and uploading them using TIFR bandwidth.

vicky said...

I have gone through your article and your eight point summary.Without going much of arguments want to remind you something there is lot of difference between a grad student in india and us.
In US u can add to stipend by having post of TA and all but in india its is not allowed so u can't compare.
The 15000 bicycle u have pointed out i know any of my friends who got own big cars in US.So basic thing it is useless to compare two different places.While US can cater its students and India can't after there phd's. So I think you should do analysis of the situation comprehensively.Nobody wants to waste time in making such demands.Last but not the least joining Phd does not corresponds cutting for from civic society.As far as comparing to industry,
all developed countries have great funding for people involved in basic research.If you have power use it wisely.

SASWATA said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
SASWATA said...

Peanuts have attracted few monkeys like you to TIFR. The stipend should increase to attract more students to compete for TIFR entrance so that creatures with developed brains only get a chance to study in this institute.

Anirbit said...

The comments look pretty amusing, to say the least. It is interesting how blogging about day to day issues instead of personal issues actually reveals more about the people I know around me!

In general it seems that the most of the people commenting here were a bit hot-headed while reading the article and hence haven't really gone through my arguments of what all shift of demands I have proposed. Given that I have in general infinite amount of energy, let me try to reply to some of the points,


I think some 4 or 5 years ago somebody told me that I will realize the "real world" precisely "3-4" years later. :)
I think it is high time we get out of this hackneyed argument about "real world". It is an old game of words that one has grown tired of and one doesn't care for anymore. Let us just agree that we all live in the same world or if you strongly feel that you inhabit a different world than me then kindly write about it to enlighten me.


In principle I don't see my blogging activities as being disjoint from my academic responsibilities. Anyway since you do seem to have a very narrow vision of the word "research" then probably it would do you good to read my website to learn about my academic pursuits and if that doesn't make sense to you then you can write to my professors and department faculty inquire about my academic efforts.

Probably some background research will be helpful.


I thin you got a bit confused about my comparison with the US. I think I was pretty clear that some aspects of their model can be adopted here like payment for TA and RA and making them compulsory but some of their ideas are tough to implement here like making the students pay for their housing.


Probably you need a course in english idioms and a course in reading texts written in english. {I apologize that I am not capable of expressing myself in other languages as well as in english hence my target audience is limited to people who understand english} Especially you probably will be helped if you learn how to follow logical arguments which involve 2 sentences across the text, one referencing the other.

Kabir said...

"what is the guarantee that a flat hike in the salaries will not merely add to the sales of the local bar 'Gokul" ?"
Honestly Anirbit.
Go Jump.

Sayan Chakraborti said...

You seem to be fond of changing your posts after people have started replying to them. You seem to change even the title of your post!

It was "Possible unreasonableness of the demand for stipend hike for TIFR graduate students" and has suddenly changed to "Proposal for change of demands rather than stipend hike for TIFR graduate students".

If you must update your opinions in the middle of a discussion, it is considered good practice to reply to the other parties using "comments" or a new post all together. Modifying your post during an ongoing debate is just cheap.

Sayan Chakraborti said...

Purchasing transportation devices costing more than ones monthly salary is pretty usual in India as well as in the US.

My father's car definitely costs (small integer times 10^5 Rupees) a lot more than his monthly salary. I have multiple friends (graduate students) in the US who have bought cars costing more than their salaries.

Your argument #1 is vacuous.

Why should we not be able to afford better means of transportation than a bicycle? At least a Tata Nano!

Anirbit said...


I didn't make any change in the article which affects the essential content of the original writing. The thrust points are still the same.

I am sure an astute reader can notice that the edits I made later were merely of aesthetic type and not content oriented.

Hence I didn't bother to put up warning signs for a casual random-walker.

If the value of the salary can actually hinder people from buying cars then I would more support the current value of the salary. Then the curently salary is more environment friendly since it is encouraging people to use public transport.

Thanks for pointing out an off-shoot merit of the current value of the salary that I hadn't noticed!


So that makes 9 points from my side?

You are yet to score even 1 point.

Best of luck!

SASWATA said...


Anirbit doesn't need a transportation device because he can climb a tree and jump through trees.

Sayan Chakraborti said...

@ Saswata

Thanks for pointing out my mistake. I understand now, that Anirbit would not require the aid of transportation devices like the rest of the research scholars. Then why waste government money? We can ask for a "need-based-scholarship" as pointed out by Anirbit, to include only "human research scholars".

Shamashis said...

After reading this post, I realized that the world is divided into two types of people:

1. Those who prefer to live in a radiation filled world and get blown up with nuclear weapons as long as they are paid a high salary.

2. Those who wait for the day the world would be free of nuclear weapons, and believe very narrow local petty issues like salary hike should be discussed only after the very broad globally significant issues have been sorted out.

Unfortunately, the first category of people are far too superior in number. But, as we all know, great ideas always find only a few supporters (if any) in the beginning.

@ Saswata, Sayan

There is one more point I can't miss. This is a suggestion.

Since this blog has become so popular, and the whole of TIFR is keeping an eye on it, can't we use this as a forum to announce all the important meetings and demonstrations?

Anirbit said...

@ Saswata

Sorry to remind you but I think I must, that there are multiple ways of transportation that one can use instead of the two that you could think of (personal cars and climbing trees). In case you have not noticed the government does run bus services and for faster movement there is always cabs one can hire and for longer distances there are trains and planes and for shorter day to day travels there are cycles.

Anyway this blog was not about transportation systems which are generally taught in kindergarten textbooks.

Anyway incase people have not realized this place was supposed to be for comments on the blog post, I can't let this space be misused for putting up notices for something else.

Since some people plan to misuse this space, I am forced to put in comment moderation where I will allow only criticisms of the blog post to get posted.

AnoNick said...

Okay, a number of points. Firstly, the stipend hike is not being 'demanded' by the students of TIFR out of greed, but it has been promised by the DAE, and such hikes are going to be implemented at most of India's Research Institutions. We're merely asking for what is ours.

It seems you feel that graduate students don't deserve as much salary as they get, because they spend it on transportation, liquor, and other despicable activities. But if you expect people to live like ascetics while under the stress of a research career and all the uncertainties of PhD life, I don't think it's warranted.

There is also the very pragmatic issue of attracting new talent to Indian Institutions. Sure, the "top-notch" students of the "top-notch" colleges you mentioned won't opt for TIFR over, say, Cornell, but even bright students from other (maybe 'lower' in your view) colleges, won't be motivated to opt for a career in research if the pay is lower than what an engineer or an mba would get. Money is not everything, sure, but it does matter. People want to live a life, settle down with a family, buy a home, and even more (!) ambitious things. Maybe you feel they don't have the temperament for research. Which does not mean they'll make bad scientists. Why have an Ancient Greek viewpoint which looks at ascetism as a qualification for pursuing knowledge?

Sure, people can live on the current salary. I bet I can live on four times as less. But I don't want my entire life to be Research. Nor does anyone else. Seriously. What we get is peanuts compared to what people of similar qualifications in other professions get. I'm not complaining: I chose this career. But leave that aside for now. Point being, we're protected now by the walls of the institute. Outside, in the real world, there are things known as Inflation, Arranged Marriages, Home Loans, and of course (gulp) Post-Docs. Whatever hell breaks loose once we step out of the cradle, we would want the Power of Bank Balance on our side then.

I think research is an essential part of a developing country's arsenal, maybe not as essential as call centers, but heck. Point being, it is a government career, there is no reason these guys who slog it out in labs 24/7 should think their choice of career is letting them down. A Pay Rise is a Good Thing.

Anirbit said...

Thanks Rahul for your comment. Unlike all the previous comments, finally I see a thoughtful counter debate to my arguments. Finally a counter point from a person who has thought through the issue to some extent. Such comments are what make blogging a fruitful activity. It seems that once comment moderation is put in place the level of debate increases!

May be the reason why Prof.Sunil Mukhi always has comment moderation turned on in his blog.

Okay. So let me try to clarify my stand on the various issues you have raised.

1. Your first point is a question of legal stand-point and I am basing my argument based on the emails that I get from the protesters. None of their mails ever showed any document or proof that government has really implemented such a hike. All the mails seem to demand a hike. And that has also been the stand that I could infer by talking to other people who protest actively like Dipan, who also seemed to say that the government has not yet ratified the hike. As of now even from the last promises made my Ramasamil in TIFR, the legal stand point still seems to be that there is no official clearance to the hike. It is only at the level of some promises by some officials.

If you have documents proving that the hike has been ratified then kindly send it to me. I would put that up here.

2. I am in NO WAY advocating for a life of an ascetic. Ascetic's are not known to be using Apple iPods. I am infact asking for much more than what the protesters are. The protesters are asking only for some few thousand rupees more and that too in forms which are dubious.

I am asking for bigger things like football grounds, cricket grounds, new badminton courts, may be a snooker room, a larger library, better sanitation systems in TIFR, better grading systems etc.

My demands are much larger than that of the protesters.

I strongly feel that the things I am demanding for have larger positive impact potential than what the protesters are asking for.

I doubt whether even if one is paid a larger salary a student will be motivated to join a place which has terrible sanitation systems and almost no sports facilities and marking systems where one is likely to be given 0 in examinations for obviously correct answers!

I am sure people would look for a better quality of life rather than just
a large salary.

And anyway I am supporting salary hike if it comes in forms which have accountability like need-based scholarships and research awards/incentives.

3. Lastly many of the uncertainties of life that you have mentioned which warrant financial security are all things that may or may not happen AFTER you have passed out from TIFR. I see no reason why TIFR should take up such a large responsibility of financial security of your life!

Thats too much to ask for.

TIFR should provide enough to make your PhD life here a happy experience and what happens after that doesn't seem to be something TIFR can be too much worried about.

TIFR should ensure that one's life here doesn't become 1-dimensional and that you have many fruitful activities to engage in apart from academics. Hence I am asking for greater sporting facilities.

Definitely in this strain I would ask for facilities in TIFR that can help people pursue parallel studies in other subjects also like in arts, music, dance, film-making, economics etc. Education needs to be much more holistic.

I would demand for facilities that lets me pursue interests beyond just some dry equations.

AnoNick said...

Thanks for your reply. Let me try to convey how I feel about the issues you have raised. (The necessary disclaimer being that the opinions below are mine, and not of the whole student body. Obvious, but heck.)

About the issue of "legality": I don't know whether the hike has been officially approved by the government. All I know is that it is being considered, and that all such institutions have been promised the stipend increase. I feel there are two issues here:

1) Is the hike justified?
The DAE surely has it's own reasons, some of which I tried to guess at in the earlier comment. (Like it being an incentive for prospective students, or maybe just our of pure human concern!) They're considering it, they must have some solid reasons. From our point of view: yes it is. For the reasons I stated in my comment above.

True, it sounds reasonable that TIFR shouldn't take responsibility of my financial security. But it is not very practical. Imagine if, instead of grad school, I was employed in some company, and they throw me out at age 28, say, and suddenly I'm alone and exposed to all the harsh elements I alluded to earlier. I would certainly want myself to have some savings. Should my former job have given me enough money to survive this period? Oh, certainly not, right? Why should they care? But from my point of view, where else can I get the money?!

Which brings me to my second point.

2. Why are we protesting?
Ah. We come to the mess of human interactions and group psychology that I don't claim to understand at all. But from my point of view, the pay hike was a long time coming. As I said, a pay rise is Good. There is no reason why it shouldn't happen.

All very well, why not wait for it to happen instead of actively protesting and seeming all money-hungry? Well, we're not money-hungry. We're just money-needy, like everyone else in this world. If a pay rise has been promised, and we're told it is coming along, there's no reason why we shouldn't do our bit to speed up the process. It is bereaucracy, as you know. While we're not breaking car windows or burning TIFR buses, I think there can be no objections to a little demonstration to show that We Think We Need It Too.

I agree with your point that we need better sporting facilities, a better library, etc. But those are extraneous to the above two questions, which form the main cruz of the issue according to me. The demands you make can be fulfilled by the Endowment Fund, while the hike comes from the DAE. And we did not suddenly get the idea of a hike into our heads one day, we were promised it.

I hope this is a relevant enough answer to your comment above.

asdf said...

i agree with @vikrant

and i think you write too much of nonsense !

asdf said...

if TIFR increases the Stipend, make sure that this fellows stipend is halved. :-)

Suneel said...

eprThere is no guarantee that hikeu means attracting more talented people (BTW, I don't think THE only people in this country remains INTELLIGENT are from IIT, CMI, IISC etc.).
Secondly, try to be little more sensitive about the people who come from very poor family and have some loan to pay or parents are dependent on them or already married.
Thirdly, why are you thinking in terms of rent/cost of a house close to sea-shore? I don't care even if TIFR is in Panvel. Why does it attracts your attention. May be your basic needs are fulfilled and now you are more interested to to say your friends and families, with proud that you live in area where monthly rent is more then N INR?