NITI Aayog to HRD ministry: Change laws restrictive towards foreign and private investments in education


In a written letter to the HRD Ministry and the DEpartment of Economic Affairs (DEA) last month, The Niti Aayog has asked for amendments to a batch of regulations and laws described as “restrictive” to investment (private) in higher education. These include Section 10(n) of the AICTE Act 1987; Section 8 of The Companies Act, 2013; paragraph 2.1 of the UGC regulation on maintenance of standards in private universities and lastly the paragraph 5.1 of UGC’s deemed university regulations.


NITI Aayog CEO’s Written Letter

In a letter dated August 7, Amitabh Kant, CEO of the Planning Commission has drawn Higher Education Secretary K K Sharma and DEA Secretary Subhash C Garg’s attention to these provisions, further states that these require suitable changes that are to be spearheaded by the HRD Ministry.


For instance, Paragraph 5.1 of UGC’s deemed university regulations states that all deemed-to-be universities shall be registered as a not-for-profit society under the Societies Registration Act, 1860. Similarly Section 10(n) of AICTE Act gives AICTE the powers to take all steps to prevent commercialisation of technical education. Moreover,  paragraph 2.1 of UGC Regulations define a private university as one established through a state/central Act by a sponsoring body which is either a not-for-profit society or company.

According to Sources

As per sources that wished to stay disclosed: “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. All these outdated provisions are restrictive towards private investments.” The UPA government had made two unsuccessful attempts to allow foreign campuses in the country but the Bill couldn’t pass political muster in Parliament. The Supreme Court over the years has interpreted the nature of educational institutions in India to be charitable and not for profit. That apart, undoubtedly India lacks a legal framework to allow foreign educational institutions to set up campuses.

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