Parliamentary panel recommends expediting process of granting eminence tag to HEIs, revision of HEFA scheme

The government will provide funding up to Rs 1,000 crore to public institutions with an IoE tag. However, private institutions proposed as IoE, will not get any financial support.

Parliament house (Wikimedia commons)Parliament house (Wikimedia commons)

Press Trust of India | March 28, 2023 | 11:29 PM IST

NEW DELHI: The process for granting Institutions of Eminence (IoEs) status to higher educational institutions should be accelerated and the revision of the HEFA scheme should be expedited, a Parliamentary panel has recommended. Higher Education Financing Agency (HEFA) is a joint venture company of Canara Bank and Ministry of Education GoI. HEFA provides financial assistance for creation of educational infrastructure and R&D in India's premier educational Institutions.

The panel said the status note on each of the two public institutions and five private institutions, which are being considered for IoE status, be placed before the committee for its perusal. "The committee notes that efforts at various levels are underway to grant IoE status to remaining two public institutions and five private institutions while one institution has expressed its inability to comply with the conditions of the letter of intent.

"The committee, therefore, recommends that the process for granting status of IoEs be accelerated, so that, the remaining institutions also get the IoE status at the earliest," it said. "The committee also directs that a status note on each of the two public institutions, five private institutions which are being considered for IoE status be placed before the committee for its perusal," the panel chaired by Rajya Sabha MP Vivek Thakur said in its report.

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The IoE scheme was announced in 2019 to select 20 IoEs -- 10 public and 10 private -- that will enjoy complete academic and administrative autonomy. While the government will provide funding up to Rs 1,000 crore to public institutions with an IoE tag, in the case of private institutions proposed as Institutions of Eminence, there will be no financial support.

They, however, will be entitled for more autonomy as a special category Deemed University. The IoEs will also not be subjected to inspection by the University Grants Commission (UGC). "The committee also recommends the department to consider seeking additional allocations under the scheme at the RE stage in case a view emerges that more institutions can be considered for recognition as IoEs which will lead these institutions to emerge as world class Institutions that can help in quest for India emerging as a global academic hub," the panel said in its report.

The committee further recommends expediting the revision of the Higher Education Financing Agency (HEFA) scheme and notify it at the earliest to widen the scope for financing under it. "The panel recommends that the department should undertake sincere efforts to sanction more loans to mobilize the resources at the fullest, ensure speedy disbursal of sanctioned loans and to achieve targets in a timebound manner during 2023-24," it added.

Noting that over 34,000 teaching and non-teaching posts are vacant in central universities, IITs, IIMs, NITs and other institutions, the committee recommended the department to take a proactive approach for monitoring the progress and actions being taken towards filling up of these vacancies in a time bound manner with permanent faculties as far as possible by the end of 2023. "The committee further recommends that special recruitment campaigns should also be undertaken," it said.

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