A high-powered committee of the Government of India, headed by Sir Nalini Ranjan Sarkar, a businessman, educationist, industrialist and public figure, recommended in 1946 the establishment of four higher institutes of technology on the lines of their counterparts in Europe and the United States to set the direction for the development of technical education in the country. The committee had recommended the establishment of institutes of national importance in different regions of India. The first of the IITs was set up in Kharagpur (whose other claim to fame is that it has the longest railway platform in the world) in the state of West Bengal in 1950 at a site in Hijli village which used to be a detention camp. Four more IITs followed in quick succession. IIT Bombay was established in 1958, followed by those at Madras (1959), Kanpur (1959) and Delhi (1961). Though the names of the cities Bombay and Madras were later changed, respectively, to Mumbai and Chennai, the institutes at these two places retain their original names. So our institute is IIT Bombay, often shortened to IITB.
These institutes were designed to provide the necessary dynamism and flexibility of organisation in the light of the expanding knowledge and changing socio-economic requirements of modern society. Planning for the institute at Mumbai began in 1957 and the first batch of 100 students was admitted in 1958. The institute campus at Powai extends over 200 hectares and is situated in picturesque surroundings with the Vihar and the Powai lakes on either side and green hills in and around. In 1961, by an Act of Parliament, the institute was declared an institution of national importance and was accorded the status of a university with the power to award its own degrees and diplomas. IIT Bombay was established with the cooperation and participation of the UNESCO, utilising the contribution of the government of the then USSR. The institute received substantial assistance in the form of equipment and expert services from the USSR through the UNESCO from 1956 to 1973. It received 59 experts and 14 technicians from several reputed institutions in the USSR. The UNESCO also offered fellowships, numbering 27, for training Indian faculty members in the USSR. Under the bilateral agreement of 1965, the Government of USSR provided additional assistance to supplement the Aid Programme already received by the institute through UNESCO.