Research and innovation is all set to take a new turn with the Prime Minister’s office directing the Ministry of HRD to fast track the framework for setting up 10 private autonomous universities. The agenda is to invite world-class private institutions for higher studies to set up in the country in order to strengthen India’s quest for research and innovation.
These educational institutes will have full autonomy that is they will be free from government control and UGC guidelines and will have their own curriculum and fee structure as well as hiring faculty and other aspects of administrative area. Like the heavyweights of US education Stanford and Princeton, these proposed private universities will have modern infrastructure facility for the students, world-class technology facility in the field of research and innovation in IT, Medicine, Agriculture and Biotechnology.
But sources privy to this initiative has reportedly said that there is not much clarity on how to achieve this because if these institutes are set up as an act of the Parliament like the AIIMs, IITs or the NITs, then the government has to pass separate bill for each university which will take time. Also, if the government comes up with modifying the UGC (University Grant Commission) act, then these universities will have to abide the regulatory body’s guidelines. Again, creating and maintaining such modern educational facilities would involve huge investment while the return would be uncertain.
Presently, there are four categories of universities in the country namely central, state, deemed and private, set up through government legislations and controlled by UGC guidelines. The central universities are formed through an act passed by the Parliament whereas the state and private universities are formed by state legislations. Deemed universities on the other hand are recognized by UGC if they fulfill certain criteria.