House panel against private control of IIITs

House panel against private control of IIITs

A parliamentary panel has objected to the government’s plan to allow private players “full control” of the Indian Institutes of Information Technology (IIITs) at the end of five years of their establishment in the public private partnership (PPP) framework.

In its report on a Bill seeking to set up 20 IIITs, the penal recommended that the Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry should encourage industry-academia collaboration for academic and research purposes only, instead of setting them up in the PPP mode.
Central and state governments concerned would contribute towards setting up of the institutes in the ratio of 50 and 35 per cent, while an industry partner will contribute just 15 per cent in the expenditure.

Land for the proposed institutes will be provided by respective state governments and after completion of five years, these institutions would become “fully private” as industry partners will become major stakeholders in their management and administration.

“The proportion of the role being given to the industry partner in proposed legislation was disproportionately large compared to the contribution it would be making towards the cost of establishing the institutions,” parliamentary standing committee noted in its report tabled in Parliament on Friday.

An individual entity having a stake on the ownership might give rise to conflict between the welfare objectives of the government and the profit motive of the industry “a few years down the line”.

“The committee strongly feels that instead of having IIITs under the PPP mode, what need to be encouraged are industry academia collaborations,” it added.

Finding no justification in the government plan to set up IIITs in PPP mode, the penal noted that Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) and National Institutes of Technology (NITs) were functioning “remarkably well”.

“They are known worldwide for their excellence despite no industry having a stake in their ownership. In fact, industries now compete to associate themselves with these institutes for the quality of graduates they produce every year,” it observed.

The committee’s recommendation has come at a time when the Centre has already approved the proposal of 11 states including Karnataka, Kerala, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh for setting up of these institutes. Academic session for 2013-14 has begun at IIITs at Kota, Chittoor, Guwahati and Vadodara for undergraduate programmes as well as at Tiruchapalli for postgraduate programmes.

The panel picked many holes in the proposed legislation of the ministry and suggested it to make necessary modifications.

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