New Delhi, June 16: The Centre has approved a funding plan that offers greater autonomy to higher education institutes like IIMs and IITs, overturning a scheme piloted by Murli Manohar Joshi.
Under the modified guidelines of financial assistance cleared by the cabinet today, the Centre will match the amount the institutes manage to save and mobilise on their own.
The incentive-driven scheme ' the higher the internal resource generation, the more the central grant ' is expected to motivate the institutes to think up innovative ways to build a sizeable corpus. They also will be able to create academic posts without government approval.
The modified grant scheme replaces the performance-linked plan introduced in 2002-03 by the then human resource development minister Joshi.
The IITs had accepted the plan ' though it was never implemented ' but the IIMs had resisted it, fearing government interference and loss of autonomy.
Joshi had set conditions for disbursing the central assistance and ordered the IIMs to slash their fees, which led to an unparalleled standoff between the minister and the blue-chip IIMs when the NDA was in power. The fee directive was revoked when the UPA came to power
Some of Joshi’s conditions were linked to increasing the number of students ' he always felt that the teacher-student ratio in IIMs was heavily skewed ' and spending more on research.
Before Joshi entered the picture, the Centre used to give a lump sum amount to the institutes.
The ministry under Arjun Singh, Joshi’s successor who was so far concentrating on “detoxification” of saffron supporters from the education establishment, has reversed the BJP leader’s plan and added the incentive component.
“The major incentive in the modified block grant scheme is that the institutions will now be able to build a corpus of their own. This in turn will encourage autonomy,” said a ministry official.
The UPA government’s common minimum programme promises to restore to the institutions the autonomy that was under threat earlier.
The base year for calculating increases in grants to the IITs and the IIMs has been fixed at 20004-05.
The Centre wants the IIMs and the IITs to have a corpus of Rs 100 crore each. Other institutes like the School of Planning and Architecture in Delhi, the Indian School of Mines in Dhanbad, the National Institute of Technical Teachers Training and Research in Calcutta should target Rs 50 crore each.
At present, only IIM Ahmedabad has a comfortable corpus of Rs 98 crore. The outgoing system did not offer any incentive to the institutions to save.
If the incentive scheme motivates the institutes to raise more resources, it will also help remove a yoke.
At present, the IITs and the IIMs have to seek the permission of the HRD ministry if they want to create academic posts. HRD in turn has to get the approval of the finance ministry.
However, under the modified assistance scheme, the institutes will be free to create academic posts and make appointments to these posts on a contractual basis without knocking on the government’s door.