Centre allocates INR 1 lakh crore for research and infrastructure in colleges

In a big boost to the higher education sector, the Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved a proposal by the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) to expand the scope of the Higher Education Financing Agency (HEFA) by enhancing its capital base to INR 10,000 crore, and tasking it to mobilise INR 1,00,000 crore for Revitalizing Infrastructure and Systems in Education (RISE) by 2022.

In order to expand this facility to all institutions, especially those set up after 2014, the central universities which have very little internal resources, and institutions like AIIMS and Kendriya Vidyalayas, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has approved five conditions for financing under the HEFA and the modalities of repaying the principal portion of the fund.

“Technical institutions which are more than 10-years-old will have to repay the whole principal portion from the internally-generated budgetary resources; institutions which started between 2008 and 2014 will repay 25 per cent of the principal portion from internal resources, and receive a grant for the balance of the principal portion,” an official statement said.

“Central universities, which started before 2014, will have to repay 10 per cent of the principal portion from internal resources and receive a grant for the balance of the principal portion. Newly established institutions which were started after 2014 will be provided grants for construction of permanent campuses,” it added.

The statement further said that other educational institutions and grant-in-aid institutions of the Ministry of Health, including the newly set up AIMS, and other health institutions, the Kendriya Vidyalayas and Navodaya Vidyalayas would be funded and the department or ministry concerned will give a commitment for complete servicing of the principal and interest by ensuring adequate grants to the institution.

Union HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar said that the government had increased the funding for higher education by 133% compared to 2013-14, with the infusion of INR 22,000 crore from the Higher Education Funding Agency.

The HEFA was set up on May 31, 2017, by the Central Government as a Non-Profit, Non-Banking Financing Company (NBFC) for mobilising extra-budgetary resources for building crucial infrastructure in the higher educational institutions under the Central government.

In November 2017, the agency had allocated INR 2,066 crore for six universities – the Indian Institutes of Technology in Bombay, Delhi, Madras, Kharagpur and Kanpur, and the National Institute of Technology, Suratkal – to improve research infrastructure there.