An annual report on the status of higher education in India prepared by the Planning Commission and the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), has favoured greater participation of the private sector in higher education with the establishment of larger and higher quality institutions during the 12th Five Year Plan period. It has been proposed to re-examine the ‘not-for-profit’ status in higher education so as to allow entry of for-profit institutions in select areas, with the necessary vision to ensure quality and equity.
“To provide private institutions access to long-term and low-interest rate debt, infrastructure status should be given to higher education,” the report, released on November 9 in New Delhi, said. It suggests that educational infrastructure companies should be permitted to build and lease physical facilities to academic institutions with lease revenues subjected to similar tax treatment as housing finance companies. The report further suggests that educational trusts, societies and companies be allowed to raise funds from the capital market by issuing bonds and shares without changing their tax status.
Education companies should be allowed tax exemptions in line with those enjoyed by information technology (IT) companies along with relaxation of provisions in the Foreign Contribution and Regulation Act to allow NRIs to invest in not-for-profit education. The report also suggests that access of private institutions to research funding be at par with public institutions.
It said new public-private partnership (PPP) models in higher education should also be encouraged during the 12th five year plan period, particularly in the establishment of research and innovation institutions.
Based on the 11th five year plan experience of setting up Indian institutes of information technology (IIITs) and polytechnics in PPP mode, a framework should be put in place to encourage the spread and growth of PPP models, increase and improve resource utilisation and enhance the quality of education in such institutions, the report added.Posted in National