The government has notified regulations for attracting foreign universities to set up off-shore campuses at GIFT City and allowed them to repatriate profits.
The new regulations allow a foreign university or educational institution among the top 500 QS World Universities to come to GIFT City and give an undertaking to “place suitable infrastructure and facilities” to offer courses such as financial management, FinTech and Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).
The regulations were framed eight months after Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in her Budget 2022 speech said that world-class foreign universities and institutions would be allowed in the GIFT City to offer courses and be free from domestic regulations to facilitate availability of high-end human resources for financial services and technology.
In line with this the regulations seek to address some of the hurdles foreign universities have faced in coming to India such as fee and administrative control, implementation of reservation policy and the pre-requisite that they have to be a not-for-profit entity, said people in the know. The University Grants Commission is also preparing a regulatory framework to attract foreign universities and colleges to set up campuses across the country.
The regulations also allow the parent entity “to repatriate profit, if any, without any restriction”.
The courses or programmes offered by the foreign entity would have to be identical to those offered by the parent entity in its home jurisdiction and the same degree and diploma or certificate would have to be conferred. These will “enjoy the same recognition and status as if they were conducted by the parent entity in its home jurisdiction”.
The International Foreign Services Centres Authority (IFSCA), which framed the regulations, would have the right to inspect foreign campuses set up in GIFT city. If an institution withdrew or discontiinued a programme it would have to provide an alternative to the affected students, including reallocation.
“The IFSCA in India is an off-shore zone like financial centres in Dubai, London and Singapore. And, foreign universities are being wooed in order to create skilled manpower at GIFT city for financial services as envisioned in the Budget speech. We have seen good interest from universities in the UK, the USA and Australia. The demand for foreign education is huge and more than 10 lakh students from India go abroad. Many universities think that GIFT City will also provide them access to students from other South Asian countries. This will also allow India to retain talent within the country,” said Dipesh Shah, Executive Director, IFSCA.
“The IFSCA in India is an off-shore zone like financial centres in Dubai, London and Singapore”Dipesh ShahExecutive Director, IFSCA