This is yet another manifestation of the arrogance of IITs. If you can't conduct this exam, then give it up. It is not your exam. It is MHRD's exam. This is not just for admission to IITs and IISc. This is for admission to ALL MTech programs in the country, where the stipend is charged to MHRD. CBSE has had no problem in conducting an exam for 12 lakh candidates, and should be happy to conduct yet another exam. CBSE has done a far superior job of conducting AIEEE than IITs have done for JEE (at least the way exam is conducted - I don't want to digress by discussing the paper content). And I am sure CBSE can do a far better job of conducting GATE than IITs can. If CBSE refuses to conduct, then we can consider outsourcing it to BITS Pilani, Merit-trac, Prometric, and any number of other players. All of them have huge experience of conducting large public exams.
Have IITs ever bothered to ask other universities when GATE should be conducted. Note that IITs have a small number of MTech seats. Others admit more MTech students than IITs do. But there is no mechanism for anyone to give any inputs. Most universities would want to start the admission process earlier than April, and therefore, would want GATE to be held earlier than February. But IITs won't listen. I know of some places who were seriously considering keeping some seats for "early admission" for those who would have given GATE in the 3rd year. But that won't be possible now.
GATE has also become a way to test your basic knowledge in your field of engineering. Many students would give GATE in the 6th semester, and if they get good score, highlight that in the CV for placement. The industry values such students, but this can't be done any more.
In fact, even at IITK, if someone sent us an email in March telling us that s/he has got a very good GATE score (better than our typical cutoff for calling for MTech admission), we will try our best to invite him/her for summer internship in the hope that next year s/he will join our graduate program. That would no longer be possible.
For many years, there is a talk about GATE becoming a multiple day, online exam. But trust IITs to not do that. Only a few disciplines will have an online exam even after trials for a couple of years. They are so afraid of technology.
All this because IITs and IISc can't find enough invigilators and they are too rigid to consider alternatives. They could have had, for example, more subjects in online format, and spread offline papers on to 3-4 sessions by having the exam on Saturdays as well, thereby reducing the need of faculty members going to various centers.
They have increased the cost of JEE application fee to Rs. 1800. They could have done a similar hike for GATE as well, and use that for solving problems (like going for online exams in more subjects, paying more for larger and better exam centers).