Higher Education Current Affairs

UGC grants full autonomy to 62 higher educational institutes

The University Grants Commission (UGC) approved proposal to grant full autonomy to 62 higher educational institutions which have maintained high standards of excellence under Autonomous Colleges Regulation. These 62 higher educational institutions include 5 central universities, 21 state universities, 26 private universities and 10 other colleges.

Key Facts

The complete autonomy will allow these higher educational institutions to start new courses, new departments, new programmes, skill courses, off campuses, research parks, appoint foreign faculty, take foreign students, offer variable incentive packages and introduce online distance learning.

They can also get into academic collaboration with top five hundred universities of the world. They can also decide their admission procedure, fee structure and curriculum, among others. They will not have to come to UGC again and again for seeking permission as they maintained quality and achieved a benchmark of 3.26 and above NAAC (National Accreditation and Assessment Council) ranking.

The 10 colleges which have been granted autonomy will have full freedom but not degree awarding powers. These colleges will be free to conduct admissions, decide curriculum, conduct exams on their own and evaluate them and declare results. However, degrees awarded will have university name along with theirs.

University Grants Commission (UGC)

The UGC is statutory body set up by Union government in accordance to the UGC Act 1956. It functions under Ministry of Human Resource Development. It is mandated to initiate important decisions and dialogues which have important bearing on the entire student population of the country.

The three primary functions of UGC include overseeing distribution of grants to universities and colleges in India, providing scholarships and fellowships to beneficiaries and monitoring conformity to its regulations by universities and colleges.


RISE Scheme: IITs set to get 25% of Government loans for higher education institutes

The Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) will get largest chunk of loans on offer under Revitalising Infrastructure and Systems in Education (RISE), new funding model scheme for all centrally-run institutes. This shifts funding mechanism to CFIs in higher education from grant assistance to loans to assure more funds, greater accountability and timely completion of projects. Earlier, CFIs, on an average used to get fixed Budget grants of Rs 10,000 crore every year.

RISE scheme

RISE scheme was announced in Union Budget 2017-18. It aims to lend low-cost funds to government higher educational institutions. Under it, all centrally-funded institutes (CFIs), including central universities, IITs, IIMs, NITs and IISERs can borrow from a Rs 1,00,000 crore corpus over next 4 years to expand and build new infrastructure. It will be financed via restructured Higher Education Financing Agency (HEFA), a non-banking financial company. Distribution of loans under RISE Scheme is as follows

Key Facts

With introduction of RISE, all financing for infrastructure development at CFIs in higher education will be done through HEFA, which was set up by government as a Section 8 company (a company with charitable objectives) in 2017 to mobilise funds from the market and offer 10-year loans to centrally-run institutes.

Equity Share: In order to mobilise funds Rs. 1 lakh crore corpus under RISE, HEFA will need equity of Rs 10,000 crore, of which Rs 8,500 crore will be provided government and remaining by Canara Bank, which partnered with government to set up HEFA, and other corporations.

Target: All infrastructure and research projects sanctioned by HEFA are to be completed by December 2022.

Fund Raising: HEFA will release money directly to vendors or contractors on certification by executing agency and educational institute. Loans taken from HEFA, under the RISE programme, will be paid back over 10 years.  There will be different modes of loan repayment for different institutes, based on their internal revenue.