Cram City

Despite these grim odds, young Indians continue arriving in Kota, and the coaching institutes have become a big business, encompassing 300 or so centers that generate $350 million to $450 million in revenue every year, according to one estimate. The largest coaching company, the Allen Career Institute, instructs more than one million students.

“There are two types of students in Kota — rankers and bankers,” Amit Gupta, a coaching-center biology instructor, told me. “One ranker will attract thousands of bankers. This is our modus operandi.