Provide autonomy with steps to ensure accountability for institutions of higher learning

Adequate Progress

The BJP government revised the Guidelines for Autonomous Colleges in April 2016. Now, the university has to decide on the application for autonomous status by affiliated colleges within 3 months. In case, the university fails to reach a decision, it will be presumed that the university has no objection to granting the autonomous status. The number of autonomous colleges in India has gone up from 487 in 2014 to 595 in 2017. This is an important measure taken by MHRD.

The IIM Act 2017 was notified in February 2018 proposed to provide IIMs with the power to appoint their own Directors and Chairpersons. The Act is designed to increase the autonomy of IIMs. Since then, the Government has also notified the rules. This is a serious progress taken by the Government.

In further move in March 2018, the University Grants Commission granted autonomy to sixty Higher Educational Institutions which it believed maintained high academic standards. It includes 52 Universities i.e. 5 central universities, 21 state universities, 24 deemed universities, and 2 private universities.  As per the new rules, these institutions will have the freedom to start new courses, off campus centers, skill development courses, research parks and any other new academic programs. They will also have the freedom to hire foreign faculty, enroll foreign students, give incentive based emoluments to the faculty, enter into academic collaborations and run open distance learning programmes. Detailed rules may be read here

However, it deserves to be mentioned that multiple senior position holders in Indian Universities including Dr. Amartya Sen and George Deo (Both from Nalanda University), RK Shevgaonkar (IIT Delhi) and Anil Kakodkar (IIT Bombay) have resigned since 2014 citing attack on autonomy and disagreements with the BJP government amid other reasons.

In summary, considering multiple steps taken by the government to improve the autonomy of Higher Education Institutions, the performance is classified as “Adequate”

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