A committee headed by Infosys founder N R Narayana Murthy has suggested path breaking measures to ensure greater involvement of the private sector in higher education in India.
Some of the measures suggested by the panel are: free land for 999 years, 300 per cent deduction in taxable income to companies for contributions towards boosting higher education and 10-year multiple entry visas for foreign research scholars. The committee said accreditation should be made mandatory for all universities and programs run by such universities. The panel’s report could be considered while framing the final document for the 12th five-year Plan.
For unprivileged students, the panel suggested a proposed scholarship fund with a corpus of Rs 1,000 crore. The panel said, “All contributions made by the corporate sector for this fund should be granted tax exemption of up to 300 per cent of their contribution.” The committee also said a National Educational Loan Fund with a corpus of Rs 100,000 crore should be set up by public sector banks to disburse long-tenure loans.
On land for educational institutions, the committee said that all norms floor space index should be relaxed to encourage compact city campuses and ensure optimal land utilization in urban areas.
To ensure big companies were invited to participate in the process of developing higher education, personal invitations should be sent by the prime minister to 25 Indian companies and 25 eminent, high net worth individuals to start a university on meeting the set conditions, the panel said.
Meanwhile, Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia has pitched for raising fees by universities and providing easy finance for students to complete higher education. “Stop funding the universities and just fund students….Then they would go to universities worth paying for,” he said.
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