Sibal advises India Inc to build research institutes

Says theme-based centres will be autonomous

Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal is reaching out to India Inc hoping to forge a partnership that will build institutions dedicated to research and innovations in subjects specific to industry requirements.

Inaugurating a ‘national roundtable on government-industry partnership’ here on Monday, Sibal urged the corporate houses to partner with the government and All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) for setting up of “theme based” research and innovation centres.

These institutes, unlike those providing regular degrees, will admit trained candidates from across various disciplines to conduct research and innovation in the subjects, specific to industry requirements, ranging from water to chemicals, urban development to manufacturing, and energy and mines.

He said corporates can enter into twining and collaborative programme with other universities, institutes or research organizations in twelfth five year plan. “These institutes would be fully autonomous, independent focusing on research and innovation and grant of PhD degrees,” Sibal said.

The respective ministries will only play the role of facilitators and the industry partner would set up the institutes and run them, HRD official said.

The event was jointly organised by the AICTE and Confederation of Indian Industry (CII). As many as 60 companies besides 17 government departments and ministries were invited to attend the two-day meeting.

Several proposed legislations seeking to bring reforms in higher education sector including Foreign Educational Institutions (Regulation of Entry and Operations) Bill, 2010, Universities for Innovation Bill, 2011 and National Council for Higher Education and Research Bill, 2011, are pending for passage in Parliament.

Coming down heavily on the Opposition for the pendency of his ministry’s bills, Sibal said: “In the event the opposition parties continue to stall these very significant legislations, I do believe they are harming the future of India and people. The paralysis does not lie in government decision making. The paralysis lies in Parliament where those decisions are not allowed to fructify through legislations.”

He regretted that Opposition parties were “not allowing discussions” on many bills despite being cleared by the parliamentary standing committee. “All legislations were presented in the first year and it took two- and-half-year to go to the standing committee stage. Now, when they come to Parliament after endorsement of the standing committee, we are not allowed to be voted upon and not allowed to be discussed,” he rued. Sibal also expressed surprise over the non-participation of industries in setting up of technical institutes in the country.

He said that most of the private institutes have been set up by people who got nothing to do with academics or industry.  “What was their objective? And the answer is these are business enterprises in education sector set up by non-academics and non-industry for the purpose of raking in money and delivering poor quality education.”

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