The University Grants Commission (UGC), which maintains standards for university education in India, is formulating the National University Act for the establishment of 30 central universities in the country.
During the 11th Five-year plan (2007-12), the government proposes to establish one central university in each state (where it does not have one) and provide assistance for establishing one college in each district with a low Gross Enrolment Ratio in higher education.
The financial requirement for these universities is estimated at Rs 4,800 crore during the 11th Plan period. Currently, around 20 per cent of the budgeted expenditure on higher education is met by the central government.
Functioning of these central universities will be modelled on the lines of the New Delhi-based Jawaharlal Nehru University. The government is planning to have world-class standards for the central universities, which would be located in or near selected large cities.
The universities will be multidisciplinary with a national and international faculty pool. A common entrance test is also being planned. However, any decision regarding the universities concerned will be taken after they are up and running.
Bringing an ordinance in place is a necessary condition to facilitate the formation of these universities. Establishment of these central universities in the above states is subject to state governments offering adequate land at suitable locations and free of cost. Each state government concerned is being requested to offer land accordingly, says a professor familiar with the development.
In three states, the existing state universities will be taken over by the central government and converted into central universities. These three universities are