The Ministry of Human Resource Development may soon introduce a Bill in Parliament to facilitate the establishment of 20 Indian Institutes of Information Technology under the public-private-partnership model.
"The IIIT Bill, 2010 is expected to be introduced in the Monsoon Session of the Parliament," said a ministry source familiar with the development.
Last year, the Centre had hoped to set up IIITs with participation from IT companies under the PPP model. The global slowdown, however, affected the revenue of IT firms which backed out. Now that business is once again looking up, the Centre hopes to get the IIIT plan back on track.
The IIITs will offer under-graduate, masters and PhD programmes. Each institute will have an intake capacity of about 1,000 students within a period of six to seven years of their functioning.
"The IIITs will be governed by an Act to be modelled on the lines of the Indian Institutes of Technology Act. These institutes will enjoy autonomy and also have the power to frame their own ordinances and statutes," said the director of an existing IIIT in the north.
The IIITs, till date, have been functioning as bodies registered under the Society Registration Act and therefore governed by its regulations and by-laws, he explained.
The PPP model, as envisaged by the HRD Ministry, entails that each Indian Institutes of Information Technology would be set up at an investment of Rs 200 crore (Rs 2 billion). Of this amount, 85 per cent will be borne by the Centre (50 per cent or Rs 100 crore) and state governments (35 per cent or Rs 70 crore). The remaining 15 per cent (Rs 30 crore) would be invested by the IT industry.
Land for the institutes will be provided by the states, for a completely integrated campus with science and technology parks. Each institute will specialise on specific area of Information Technology. Each IIIT will be a centre of excellence in that domain.
The idea of IIITs was conceived to develop professional expertise and skilled manpower in information technology and related areas to meet the challenges being thrown up by the rapid global IT revolution.
The MHRD had planned to establish 20 Indian Institute of Information Technology in partnership with the IT industry during the 11th five-year plan. However, due to the economic slowdown, the IT industry had expressed its inability to participate in setting up of the institutes.
"The Planning Commission has given an in-principle approval for this. We are, however, waiting for a nod from the Expenditure Finance Committee after which it would be moved to the aCabinet for final nod,'' the director added.
Software body Nasscom had earlier prepared a Detailed Project Report suggesting that the IIITs be set up with an initial investment of Rs 30 crore (Rs 300 million), of which the government's share should not exceed Rs 14.9 crore (Rs 149 million) while the share of partnering companies should not be less than Rs 15.1 crore (Rs 151 million).
"We are still awaiting clearance for the draft from the Cabinet. This is a capacity-building exercise for both, the Centre, state and us. The industry has been part of some of the IIITs that are in Hyderabad, Bangalore and Jaipur and they have participated with the state government," said Som Mittal, president, Nasscom.
The government has already set up four IIITs in Gwalior (1997), Allahabad (1999), Kancheepuram (2000) and Jabalpur (2005). Three others have been set up by the state governments in partnership with the private sector in Hyderabad, Kerala and Bangalore.
Additional reporting by Shivani Shinde