Among some other important features introduced by the board is that a candidate would be allowed to accept an offer, but with the option of upgrading to a more in-demand stream of his/her choice. “The candidate needs to pay a seat acceptance fee of Rs 5,000 for government institutes and Rs 40,000 for private institutes,” said Kar. If a candidate accepts the allotted seat, pays the requisite fee and opts for upgrade, his/her allotment could be upgraded within the current cycle or the next. Once upgraded, the candidate has only two options: either accept and freeze the upgraded seat, or select further upgrade.
Once upgraded, the candidate cannot go back and not accept it. The earlier seat is automatically cancelled and allotted to other deserving candidates. If the candidate cannot accept the upgrade or pay the differential fee, both seats would be eliminated and awarded to someone else in the queue.
This year, a record 99% of the candidates will get rank cards, which allow students with positive marks to take part in counselling, the tentative date for which is August 12.
The government has also limited the counselling rounds to three, after which mop-up rounds may take place.
The top-10 merit list announced by the WBJEE Board on Friday was a re-run of last year’s, with just one student from the West Bengal Higher Secondary Council bagging a slot. CBSE students bagged most of the top-100 ranks, reviving the debate about whether city students were advantaged because of coaching centre-centric exam patterns, at the expense of HS candidates.
Partha Pratim Biswas, a professor of construction engineering at Jadavpur University, said there was not much correlation with board exams in competitive exams. “The first 10 merit list, or even the predominance of other states’ students suggests that it is coaching-centric success. All JEE exams are a test for elimination and not evaluation,” he said.
Board vice-chairman Dilip Mitra said: “In WBJEE 2020, 99% of the candidates — the highest ever — will be given rank cards, which proves that those who took the test were serious about taking up the programme.”
For all seats, except those reserved for JEE (Main), rank-holders will not have to pay any registration fees this year. Till last year, Rs 500 was charged for participating in the counselling. “There will be at least three rounds of counselling and allotment of seats. The residual vacancy report will be generated at the end of each round. This is the first time that fresh candidates can register at the beginning of each round,” said Dibyendu Kar, WBJEE Board registrar.
Kar said that a candidate who fails to lock his/her choice within the pre-announced deadline will not be given any allotment in the current cycle, but will be considered for the next one. He/she will then have the opportunity to submit a choice in the next cycle. “This feature was unavailable till last year. Candidates can participate from any round of their choice. But as the rounds progress, the options will become limited,” Kar pointed out.