The GATE online was completed successfully for six papers last weekend. I was supposed to visit Hyderabad on Saturday morning and I had booked the morning flight of AI. On Friday night at 11:30 pm, when I was sound asleep, the AI call center person calls me up and says that the flight for Saturday morning has been cancelled and AI has helpfully rebooked it for the Sunday morning flight. When I told him that it is not acceptable, as I had to conduct a (mock) exam on Saturday and he can not rebook me, he was surprised at two things: (a) the necessity for me to be there on Saturday (b) my inability to speak in fluent Hindi (he refused to speak in English). Please note that I can speak Hindi reasonably well, just that I am not fluent it at it, especially at midnight. This person cancelled my ticket and did not charge me for the cancellation. In case you are wondering why they might charge cancellation fee for a flight that they have cancelled, all I can say that you do not know how AI (or the government) works.
I booked my ticket in a profit making airline (Indigo) at midnight, arrived at the airport in the morning, checked in and then went to the AI counter to make sure my ticket has been cancelled. The person there told me that the ticket has not yet been cancelled and they would have not have refunded my money as they would marked it as a "no-show". He, however, cancelled my ticket and when I insisted, he gave me a receipt that the flight and ticket has been cancelled. There was a long line of passengers who had switched off their mobiles at 11 pm and never got the message that the flight has been cancelled. I can not understand how passengers can switch off their mobiles by 11 pm :-7
Unlike AI, the GATE online exam went off smoothly. However, due to lack of electricity, the computers were operated using a generator. GATE is being written by 9 lakh students this year. If you remove the four major papers (EE, ECE, CS, ME), then we will have 1.5 lakh students. All these papers can be made online possibly in the next 3-4 years. The only issue that it may not be feasible to hold the online exam in tier III cites, where it may be difficult to source 300 computers for a session.
After the exam, one of my colleagues called me to check whether the exam was completed successfully and how many more papers can be made online next year. I remarked that the complete GATE can be made online next year considering the country's excellent infrastructure. He said, "Not many people understand your sarcasm; you should come back to Bangalore and read the comments of the recent post. People are discussing your h-index vis-a-vis your non-IIT undergraduation." The emoticons for sarcasm are known but what if people do not understand this either. Therefore, I should use something obvious, "Just like AI is the most customer friendly airline in the world, an undergraduation in IIT is required to become a good researcher and get a faculty position in IISc."