Budget 2020

An initiative to step up research investments

Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley presents the Union Budget at Parliament, in New Delhi on Thursday.

Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley presents the Union Budget at Parliament, in New Delhi on Thursday.   | Photo Credit: PTI

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₹1 lakh cr. investment in next 4 years

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley announced a new initiative called Revitalising Infrastructure and Systems in Education (RISE) in his Budget speech on Thursday.

“To step up investments in research and related infrastructure in premier educational institutions, including health institutions, I propose to launch a major initiative named ‘‘Revitalising Infrastructure and Systems in Education (RISE) by 2022’’ with a total investment of ₹1,00,000-crore in the next four years,” Mr. Jaitley said in his Budget speech.

Funding from HEFA

Higher Education Financing Agency (HEFA) would be suitably structured for funding this initiative.

The manner in which investment in institutions is provided, sources say, is likely to be the same as is practised in HEFA, but there may be different windows for different institutions.

The details are yet to be worked out.

HEFA, which has already begun to approve project proposals from key institutions, is aimed at boosting institutional infrastructure, especially state-of-the-art laboratories, in key institutions such as the Indian Institutes of Technology, the Indian Institutes of Management, and the Indian Institutes of Information Technology. Under the existent financing mechanism of HEFA, an institution can claim for a project 10 times the sum it escrows in the first year.

Getting approval

“If an institution escrows ₹10-crore, it can get approval for a ₹100-crore project. It has to escrow ₹10-crore each year for 10 years, which will take care of the principal amount,” an official explained. “It will be released as per the requirement and progress of the project.”

Approved by the Union Cabinet as a Special Purpose Vehicle with a public sector bank (Canara Bank) in September 2016, HEFA will undergo some restructuring for the new initiative RISE to take off.

Officials say that boosting research and innovation and creating better campus infrastructure to facilitate it is a key vision of the government, where higher education is concerned.

The Prime Minister’s Research Fellows scheme to provide high fellowship amounts to 1000 B. Tech students to pursue PhD in IITs and IISc — of which Mr. Jaitley made a mention — is also aimed at facilitating cutting edge research.

The idea, an official said, is to make India produce better research and make its institutions climb up in global rankings.

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Printable version | Jan 28, 2020 9:46:34 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/business/budget/an-initiative-to-step-up-research-investments/article22624270.ece

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