New Delhi: The cabinet is expected to approve on Friday the Indian Institute of Information Technology (IIIT) Bill that seeks to give IIITs administrative autonomy and uniformity and set up 20 more such schools on a public-private partnership (PPP) model.
Once enacted, the legislation will confer the status of institutes of national importance on the IIITs. It recognizes the need to create a large pool of skilled professionals for the information technology (IT) industry, said two government officials with knowledge of the development. Both of them declined to be named.
Promoting skills: The legislation recognizes the need to create a large pool of skilled professionals for the information technology industry. Photo: Mint
Despite the PPP scheme being on offer for more than one year, states have not shown much interest as finding a private industry partner is not always easy, said one of the two officials cited above.
The cabinet is expected to approve on Friday the Indian Institute of Information Technology (IIIT) Bill that seeks to give IIITs administrative autonomy and uniformity and set up 20 more such schools on a public-private partnership model. Mint’s Prashant Nanda tells us more
Taking note of this problem, the Bill also seeks to modify the scheme under which both central and state public sector undertakings will be accepted as industry partners for the establishment of IIITs.
The modification in the proposed legislation was made after the state education ministers conference in 5 June suggested the changes.
“It was agreed that the following modifications to the scheme could be considered: (i) To allow central and state public sector undertakings (PSUs) to be accepted as industry partners for establishment of IIITs; and (ii) giving states the flexibility to bring in one or more industry partners instead of limiting the number of partners to three,” said the summary record of the discussion held during the education ministers conference.
Setting up each IIIT will cost Rs 128 crore. While 50% of the corpus will come from the central government, 35% will be the share of the concerned state government and the remaining 15% will come from the industry partner or partners.
In the northeastern states, industry will only contribute 7.5% and the central government will pick up the slack. Besides this, the central government will provide Rs 50 crore for faculty development programmes.
During the first four years of setting up each IIIT, the central government will provide assistance towards recurring expenditure to the extent of Rs 10 crore, the year-wise requirement of which will vary depending on the growth of the institutes and how much money is needed.
Each IIIT will meet its entire operating expenditure on its own within five years of starting from student fees, research and other internal accruals, according to the agenda note of the state education ministers’ conference.
Apart from the capital cost, the partner company is expected to help with building research labs and projects, give internship to students and sponsor faculty chair positions.
The government has already set up four IIITs in Allahabad, Jabalpur, Gwalior and Kanchipuram.
The union cabinet is also expected to clear amendments to the Prevention of Bribery of Foreign Public Officials and Officials of Public International Organizations Bill 2011 aimed at criminalizing such instances of graft.
The Bill, which was introduced in the Lok Sabha in March 2011, will allow the government to strip foreign diplomats involved in bribery of their immunity.
The cabinet is expected to clear the amendments that will incorporate the suggestions proposed by the parliamentary standing committee. Although the original Bill allowed the government to book foreign agents passing on classified information to private companies, the cabinet will seek a green signal for redefining “undue advantage” as “any gratification, benefit or advantage, property or interest in such property, reward, fee, valuable security or gift or any other valuable other than legal remuneration whether pecuniary or non-pecuniary, tangible or intangible”.
Any such undue advantage by adopting corrupt or illegal means will be considered an offence under the amended legislation. This law will also cover those who offer or give any advantages to any foreign public official or official of public international organization in order to obtain international business or other advantages.
The uniform punishment for offences under this act will be from three to seven years. However, the government hasn’t accepted the panel’s suggestion of fixing a time frame for the completion of investigation under the act.
The Central Bureau of Investigation and the Central Vigilance Commission have opposed the Bill saying that the existing anti-corruption law is enough to deal with bribery. The government has rejected the argument.
The cabinet meeting on Friday is also likely to take up a new pricing formula for the procurement of ethanol to be blended with petrol, said a senior official from the department of chemicals and petrochemicals. He did not want to be identified. This official said that the proposal being considered is in line with that proposed by a panel headed by Planning Commission member Saumitra Chaudhuri.
The Chaudhuri committee had recommended that the price of ethanol be linked to that of petrol in the preceding quarter, after factoring in the calorific value, with the possibility of revising the price every three months. This is to be subject to fixed floor and ceiling prices. The department of chemicals is opposed to these recommendations, the official said.