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Now, Oxford, Cambridge can set up innovation varsities in India

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It’s a move that will give a much-needed boost to research. The government today introduced in Parliament a Bill to enable private industry, companies, top Indian and foreign educational institutions to set up Universities of Innovation and Research in India.

The Universities for Research and Innovation Bill, 2012, seeks to provide a legislation to allow setting up of innovation varsities in private and public sector as well as in public-private partnership mode. Currently, India has no Central law providing this framework.

The Bill, introduced in the Lok Sabha by HRD Minister Kapil Sibal, allows private promoters “with a vision for an innovation university and financial strength”, to set up universities which the government will notify after reviewing project proposals from promoters.

Under the Bill, all foreign institutions with 50 years standing and more (including Oxford, Cambridge, Yale) can set up research universities in India. Acclaimed Indian institutions of 25 years standing can also do so along with organisations registered under Sector 25 of the Companies Act; societies formed under the Societies Registration Act, 1860 and trusts under the Indian trusts Act, 1882. Top private research houses “with proven record in innovations” will also have the right to set up these special universities. Promoters of these universities would have to ensure 50 per cent seats to Indian students; other students can be foreigners as the Bill seeks “international classrooms”.

The government’s quota policy (15 pc seats for SCs; 7.5 pc for STs and 27 pc for OBCs) would be applicable only to publicly funded universities and not to private varsities. The latter category will just need to self-disclose affirmative action in respect of disadvantaged students.

To set up an innovation university, a promoter would have to prepare a Memorandum of Agreement listing a vision, source of funding and expectation of help from the government; availability of land and expectation of help from the Centre to obtain land. 

Research Boost

* The government introduced a crucial Bill in the Lok Sabha that allows top foreign varsities, industrialists and companies to establish research universities

* Under the Universities for Research and Innovation Bill, 2012, all foreign institutions with 50 years standing and more (including Oxford, Cambridge, Yale) can set up research universities in India

* Acclaimed Indian institutions of 25 years standing are also eligible to set up such varsities. (The Tribune)

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