Central varsities looking at PPP model to raise funds

The 40-odd Central universities are mulling novel fund-raising mechanisms such as bringing in public-private partnership for infrastructure creation and permitting more supernumerary seats for foreign students.

At a meeting of vice-chancellors of central varsities held earlier this month it was decided that they should tap external sources for financial support besides the UGC grants. Chaired by HRD Minister Kapil Sibal, the meeting resulted in the setting up of a Council of Vice-Chancellors. The Council to be chaired by Sibal will have on board Prof Goverdhan Mehta as Vice-Chairman and 13 V-Cs as members. It will consider different mechanisms for raising fund, including the PPP way to create better hostels and residential facilities. Vice-Chancellor of Central University of Himachal Pradesh has been deputed to draft possible options for PPP. V-Cs raised the issue of existing restrictions on offering of supernumerary seats for foreign students an issue that the HRD ministry and University Grants Commission have agreed to re-examine.

Meanwhile, the UGC has been asked to finalise norm-based grants for operating (non-plan) expenditure of universities with the right incentives for Central universities to mobilise resources. Norm-based funding process for Central universities is likely to be adopted from the next academic session, 2013-14.

It has been agreed in principle that Central universities should be permitted to operate faculty development programmes for raising resources and student advancement programmes to assist private educational institutes in the vicinity of the varsity.

In order to enhance the overall brand value of Central universities, the UGC will assist them in establishing niche areas of excellence. To ensure the centrality of research at universities, 40-50 research parks will be set up across the country and V-C of Hyderabad University will coordinate these efforts. Following the Yale model of connecting research to public utilities is on the cards with V-Cs of Central University of Jharkhand and University of Delhi working on it.

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