In India, University Grant Commission (UGC) limits the number of students that a faculty can supervise simultaneously. An example is given below
The Professor who is a Supervisor shall guide only a maximum of 11
(Ph.D./M.S. (By Research) put together) scholars as Supervisor/Joint
Supervisor at any time. The Associate Professor who is a Supervisor
shall guide only a maximum of 8 scholars and an Assistant Professor
shall guide only a maximum of 5 scholars as Supervisor/Joint
Supervisor at any time.
Private universities in India also have this criteria. One such example is given below
A Faculty member can be allowed to singly guide PhD students after two
years of completion of his/ her PhD degree; however joint supervision
is permissible in the initial two years after completion of PhD
degree. A faculty member can be assigned a maximum of 5 PhD students.
Even in top institutions such as the IITs, there are unwritten rules to limit the number of students a faculty can guide simultaneously. The students are normally paid by the government through fellowships and faculty do not pay students through projects (like in USA). If there is no limit, all students joining the department may prefer to join the most prestigious faculty in the department leaving no students for other faculty in the department.