NITI Aayog, in a letter, addressed to Department of Economic Affairs (DEA) and the HRD Ministry last month sought some changes in the batch of laws and regulations in regards to education institutions in India. NITI Aayog asking for some amendments in the law which it described as ‘restrictive’ to private investment in higher education. Responding to the letter written by NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant DEA Secretary Subhash C Garg and Higher Education Secretary K K Sharma stated that the provision requires certain changes which can be done by the HRD Ministry. The laws which Kant sought amendment include Section 8 of The Companies Act, 2013; Section 10(n) of the AICTE Act 1987; paragraph 2.1 of the University Grants Commission (UGC) regulation on maintenance of standards in private universities and paragraph 5.1 of UGC’s deemed university regulation, according to Indian Express.
Kant’s letter which is dated on August 7 is in response to another note which was written by Subhash C Garg to HRD in the last week of June. A copy of this letter was marked to both NITI Aayog and the Department of Industrial Policy following which a review was called for in the investment policy of Indian education. According to a source, “The communication drew attention to the large number of Indian students going abroad for higher studies. It also said there is a need to review our current policies and find out why there is little foreign investment in education in India.”
Though Amitabh Kant did not comment in this regard, the DEA agreed with NITI Aayog’s view. “Our existing policy framework doesn’t encourage any world-class institutions to set up campuses in India. Similarly, the not-for-profit provisions encourage (private) institutions to make money under the table. The fact is that these are outdated provisions restricting private investment, ” according to a source. Supreme Court prior to this had mentioned that nature of education institution should be charitable rather than profitable and any surplus generated from these institutions cannot be used to invest elsewhere.