The UGC (Fitness of Institutions for Grants) Rules 1975 have been amended by the HRD ministry, a senior official said.
The University Grants Commission (Fitness of Institutions for Grants) (Amendment) Rules, 2009 will enable the UGC to relax one or more of its conditions for giving grants to private and unaided institutions in the country.
As per the earlier rules, those private institutes, which met certain criteria with regard to faculty and infrastructure, got grants from the UGC.
The criteria laid down that a private institute should have at least five departments each having one professor, two readers and three to four lecturers. They should have administrative and academic buildings.
"Now, even if certain institutes do not have such facilities and faculty can be considered for grants. The amended rules allow the UGC to relax norms," the official said. The rules have been amended at a time when the UGC is set to start a new scheme for one-time grant for the private and unaided institutes. The scheme was discussed at the conference of state education secretaries at the UGC on September 19. As per the scheme, funds can be given to those colleges which have not got any grants from the government so far. The grants can be spent for creation of new facilities and starting of new departments in the colleges.
However, the colleges and the state governments will have to give matching grants for taking advantage of the scheme. A few thousand private and unaided institutions are expected to benefit from the scheme, the source said.
Besides, the government is set to start 374 degree colleges in educationally backward districts. The constituent colleges of certain universities can be considered under the scheme.
Earlier, such colleges were not getting direct grants. But after the amendment of the UGC Rules, these colleges will be eligible for grants, the official said.