University upgrade

Ten high-performing state universities across India are set to undergo Rs.100 crore upgrade each this academic year as they are forming campus companies—special purpose vehicles—to receive grants directly from the Centre. Besides, they will be mentored by seven US universities, including Cornell, UPenn and UC Berkeley, in various disciplines.

Pune’s Savitribai Phule University, Kolkata’s Jadavpur University and Haryana’s Kurukshetra University are among the 10 universities with NAAC ratings of over 3.51 selected for the Rs.100 crore grant under the Centre’s Rashtriya Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyaan to promote excellence, with the condition that the money is spent by March 2020. The Union HRD ministry likens these ten universities to the IITs of 1960s that rose with large special funding and autonomy. The campus companies will also be allowed to raise additional resources from outside, sources said.

“These universities have been identified for their achievements thus far. To climb up, say to move from a 3.51 to a 3.8 or a 3.9 involves a lot of work. It cannot be business as usual,” said an MHRD source. RUSA is a collaborative effort between the centre and the state with Delhi shouldering almost 70% of the funding.

These campus companies, to be headed by V-Cs and having eminent faculty and independent domain experts, have been asked to make presentations and proposals, submit daily updates, weekly progress charts and they will undergo monthly reviews, much like a corporation.

At present, funds usually move through a circuitous route: MHRD releases fund to the state's finance ministry, which, in turn, releases it to the state education ministry.

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