Monday, May 09, 2011

Google, Yahoo! to fund and run 20 new IITs?

Foreign multinationals working in India may soon be able to join hands with the government to run the latest breed of the country’s top information technology education brand — 20 new Indian Institutes of Information Technology (IIITs). Firms like Yahoo! and Google will be eligible to partner the Centre in running the new IIITs in a public-private partnership (PPP) under norms fixed by a Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) panel.

HRD minister Kapil Sibal had set up the panel under former Infosys human resources head T.V. Mohandas Pai to recommend for selection of private partners for the project, which was announced in 2008. The plan to build and run the new IIITs in PPP mode is India’s most ambitious effort at a tie-up between the Centre and industry to fund and manage higher educational institutions together.

The panel has recommended that only a consortium of between three and five firms be allowed to partner the Centre for each IIIT and individual firms be barred from partnering solo on an IIIT. Both IT and non-IT companies can partner under the Pai panel’s blueprint.

Each industry partner will need to invest at least Rs. 2 crore (Rs. 20 million), and the industry consortium must contribute 15% of the funding required for the IIIT, except in northeast states where they need to provide just 7.5% of the funds. The states government will provide 35% of the funds while the Centre will provide the largest chunk — 50% in most states and 57.5% in northeastern states.

Only members of industry bodies like Assocham, FICCI or CII are eligible and public-listed firms, which have been in operation for at least five years will be preferred. The same company can be a part of consortiums running different IIITs. The private partners — who are expected to benefit from a steady stream of students entering their industry — will have 25% seats in the Board of Governors, under the blueprint.

Source: Hindustan Times, May 9, 2011

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