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Last Updated : Oct 17, 2019 04:33 PM IST | Source: Moneycontrol.com

Project Vishwajeet: HRD Ministry plan to have world-class IITs may be revived

“The funding proposals are under discussion right now. Past alumni and corporate donors will be encouraged to contribute to make these IITs world class institutions,” an official said


An endeavour titled ‘Project Vishwajeet’ by the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) to put IITs among the list of global educational institutions could see a revival. Sources told Moneycontrol that the MHRD could look at reviving a 2016 initiative to ensure that IITs rank as top education institutes globally.

When this initiative was conceptualised in 2016, it aimed to push seven Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) to the top rung in global academic rankings. The seven IITs which will be a part of this project are IIT Bombay, IIT Delhi, IIT Madras, IIT Kharagpur, IIT Guwahati, IIT Roorkee and IIT Kanpur.

“The funding proposals are under discussion right now. Past alumni and corporate donors will be encouraged to contribute to make these IITs world class institutions,” an official said.

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The National Education Plan also envisages making Indian institutes into world class institutions. Budget 2019-20 also proposed that the allocation for world-class institutions be increased to Rs 400 crore from Rs 128.9 crore. The idea is that higher the number of world-class institutes, greater will be the number of foreign students.

The initiative

Vishwajeet means ‘conquering the world’. And that is exactly what the MHRD aims to do. Through a set of targeted initiatives, the idea is to make these seven IITs as globally reputed institutes, similar to Ivy League schools.

This will be done through a mix of grants, research fellowships and funding to improve their academic and physical infrastructure.

It also includes targeted measures such as filling 20 percent vacancies with foreign faculty, allowing off-campus PhD students, 20 percent international students at the undergraduate and post graduate level, and a 1:7 faculty-student ratio, apart from separate capital grants for world class infrastructure.

While this was a three-year old project, it was not formally launched due to a lack of consensus on the quantum of funds. IITs had sought at least Rs 1,500 crore at the initial stage for the five-year project, while the MHRD wanted to offer Rs 500 crore.

The Budget offering

As part of the Budget 2019-20 announcement in July, there was a 12.2 percent increase in the funding for IITs at Rs 6,409.95 crore. However, no separate amount was allocated for making IITs a world-class institution.

Similarly, a sum of Rs 608.87 crore has been allocated for research and innovation in FY20, which is a 150 percent increase over the revised estimate of 2018-19.

This would encourage more Indian students to focus on these activities and get their papers published in international journals. This, in turn, would promote these institutions as an attractive education destination for foreigners.

What next?

Sources said MHRD may also offer research grants for students and faculty who have published a minimum of two to three papers in renowned journals or list in Scopus database in a year with at least 25 citations.

Once the proposal is finalised after consultations with the IIT Council, the funding structure would be prepared. The final goal is to have Rs 1,500-2,000 crore fund bank that can be used collectively by the seven IITs.

After a formal launch, the project would run for five years and corporates will also be encouraged to fund this initiative through their CSR funds. This year no Indian institute features among the Top 300 global institutes as per the 2020 World University Rankings of Times Higher Education.

 

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First Published on Oct 14, 2019 12:20 pm
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