The central government’s Higher Education Financing Agency (HEFA) today approved interest-free loan of over Rs 2,000 crore for research projects proposed by five Indian Institutes of Technology and a National Institute of Technology. “HEFA Board approves Rs 2,066.73 cr interest-free loan to 6 institutions. Today is a historic day for financing needs & promotion of #research & #innovation beyond budgetary allocations,” Union HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar tweeted. The institutions are IIT Bombay, Delhi, Madras, Kharagpur, Kanpur and NIT Suratkal. “While Rs 1028.73 crore has been sanctioned for research and academic facilities, Rs 1,038 crore has been approved for other supporting infrastructure,” a senior HRD ministry official said. The Union Cabinet had approved HEFA in September last year as a special purpose vehicle with Canara Bank. It would be jointly funded by the promoter/bank and HRD ministry.
According to the funding mechanism, an institution can claim 10 times the sum it escrows in the first year.”Approved institutions can avail the sanctioned amount as per the progress of the project and complete them expeditiously. The funding under HEFA would be in addition to the grants already given to the institutions,” the official said. According to the scheme, HEFA would mobilise Rs 20,000 crore through market borrowing and would release the money to government institutions as interest-free loans.