`Give free land for 999 yrs to set up pvt univs`

To boost pvt sector investment in higher education, government should allocate land free of charge for 999 years to set up an educational institution.

New Delhi: For boosting private sector investment in higher education, the government should allocate land free of charge for 999 years to set up an educational institution, a group set up by the Planning Commission has suggested.

The Committee report on corporate sector participation in higher education headed by Chief Mentor of Infosys NR Narayana Murthy presented its report to the Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia here.

The committee said the land provided by the government to the private sector for setting up a new institution should have a world class air connectivity and well-developed social infrastructure.

"The existing higher education system in India lags in comparison to global standards and is inadequate to meet the demand," Murthy said after presenting the Committee`s report to Ahluwalia here.

"For setting up new institutions, land should be allocated by both central and state governments, free of charge for 999 years", the committee said in its recommendations.

It said such land should be usable for setting up academic facilities, incubation centres and technology parks.

This should also be allowed for residential facilities for faculty, staff students and administration and other social infrastructure like school, college, recreation and health facilities for the institution, car and bus parking, restaurants, shops etc, the committee said.
According to the estimates of the Committee, India does not have adequate eligible students and needs an additional capacity of 26 million seats over the next decade.

It has pitched for more liberal legal frame work for setting up of educational institutions in the country to attract private sector investment.

The group recommended that the higher education institutes should have freedom to accredit with the any global accreditation agency.
It recommended visas for all academic and research visitors (faculty, student, staff, administrator, researchers) and that they should be exempt from current visa regulations of minimum salary norms (USD 25,000 per annum).

The committee also recommended providing a 10-year multiple entry visa with six months duration for each visit for all academic and research visitors. It said the visas should be issued within 24 hours of applying.

"Fiscal incentives for such private players to the extent of 300 per cent of contribution should be given for any investment or contribution toward higher education," the committee suggested.

The suggestion implies that the private player should be eligible for deduction from taxable income to the extent of 300 per cent of such contribution (or investment) for setting up a higher education institution.

It also suggested setting up of a National Education Loan Fund with a corpus of Rs one lakh crore by public sector banks to disburse long term loans to students.

Besides, it sought creation of The Indian Corporate Higher Education Scholarship with a corpus of Rs 1,000 crore contributed by 1,000 top corporates.

It also advocated creating of a fund--`The Indian Corporate R & D Fund`- with a corpus of Rs 5,000 crore on the lines of National Science Foundation in USA for promoting research.

According to the committee, private sector can play significant role in addressing the existing challenges of the higher education system.

It also stressed the higher education institutions should have complete autonomy in all financial, regulatory, academic and administrative aspects.

The group also emphasised the need for creating 20 new knowledge clusters in identified cities and educational hubs through public private partnership model at an investment of Rs 500 crore per cluster.


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