A spate of student suicides in an Indian city has prompted local authorities to order that college hostels be refitted to prevent pupils hanging themselves from ceiling fans.

The town of Kota, on the edge of the desert in Rajasthan state, is a hub of private coaching institutes catering to youngsters hoping for entrance into some of the country's most prestigious medical and engineering schools.

But the city has gained an unfortunate reputation after numerous student suicides, with India's junior education minister quizzed on the deaths in parliament last month.

On Thursday the Kota district administration responded by ordering student accommodation businesses to remount bedroom ceiling fans in a way that would not support a human's weight.

"To prevent suicides from increasing among coaching students in Kota city, all hostel and private guesthouse operators in the state are directed to install a security spring device in the fans at every room," the order read.

At least 150,000 students from around the country are enrolled at more than 300 private colleges in Kota, according to media reports.

The city has reported around two dozen student suicides so far this year, up from 15 for all of 2022.

India's overall statistics on suicide are patchy.

The country saw more than 164,000 suicide deaths in 2021, the latest year for which figures were available, according to the National Crime Records Bureau.

Students accounted for eight percent of those deaths, with failing examinations listed as one of the common reasons.

Subhas Sarkar, India's deputy education minister, told parliament in July that the government had implemented policies to help youngsters with the "stress and emotional adjustments" of student life.

Sarkar said higher education institutions were also working to improve student "happiness and wellness", including by running regular yoga sessions.