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Feb 15, 2013 08:30 PM IST | Source: SME Mentor

Encourage private players in education & research

You are a man of letters and would have to agree that education is the future of our country.

Rahul Agarwalla, CEO and Co Founder Knimbus

Dear Mr Finance Minister

You are a man of letters and would have to agree that education is the future of our country. You are probably also aware that the education and research sector in India faces some big challenges.

There is a crying need for better funding and more autonomy for educational institutions such as the Indian Institutes of Technology. These institutions should be able to manage their budgets better and spend without too much red tape.

Private versus Government

We are looking forward to an attractive and clear policy for private institutions to invest in education. The laws that govern this sector are complex for investments as profits are not allowed in education. This creates contortions in how private players invest and reduces transparency in the system.

Under the current regulations, research grants are administered commonly by the government. As a result, most of these grants end up only with government institutions and are not equitably distributed. We would like a separate allocation for non-governmental research grants that will improve private participation in this area.

Tangle of Laws

Sir, the last few years have seen a steady rise in the number of start-ups in the education sector. While licensing issues are not relevant to online ventures such as ours, a lot of companies starting up have suffered due to multiple registrations under various laws such as the Companies Act and Shops and Establishments Act. These procedures consume time, resources and costs that start-ups cannot afford. We would like single-window registrations so that things become a lot easier for young entrepreneurs.

Start-ups would also like the government to pay more attention to infrastructure. Power, roads and public transport are problem areas, which hinder the growth of start-ups. We sincerely hope that Budget 2013-14 makes provisions so that taxpayers’ money is used for the improvement of infrastructure in our country.

Knimbus is a Cloud-based search and collaboration platform that connects creators and users of scientific, technical and medical (STM) knowledge to online content and peer groups.

As told to Gargi Banerjee

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