The prestigious Indian Institutes of Technology would now offer courses in medicine and allow foreign nationals on permanent faculty positions and students from abroad at the post graduate level.
A decision to this effect was taken at a meeting of IIT council presided by HRD Minister Kapil Sibal in New Delhi on Friday.
The government decided to seek the approval of the Medical Council of India for the course, Sibal told reporters.
The IIT council meeting decided to carry out appropriate amendment in the Institute of Technologies Act to enable the IITs to offer the medicine programme, he added.
"We are making sure that wherever the instruction leads to a degree relating to any branch of medicine, then of course clearances from MCI under the Act will have to be taken," Sibal said.
He, however, said no MCI approval would be required where IITs engage with inter-disciplinary research for the advancement of learning and dissemination of knowledge not leading to a degree or qualification for the practice of medicine.
For this exercise, it has been decided to set up a permanent standing committee under R A Mashelkar, former head of Council for Scientific and Industrial Research.
The council also decided to enable IITs to recruit foreign faculties which should not be more than 10 per cent of the total faculty strength.
"In principle, we agreed that IITs are entitled to recruiting foreign faculties", Sibal said adding they will set up a mechanism with the Home Ministry to ensure there is no "hiccup in the process and there is easy exit and entry of people" as faculties.
Some other issues like bringing amendments to the Indian Citizenship Act will also have to be looked into, he said.
IITs have contended that the presence of foreign faculty in their campuses would expose students to globally distinguished professors besides lending a true international flavour in campuses and reducing brain drain.
Sibal said the meeting also agreed in principle to admit up to 25 per cent foreign students at the post graduate level on a "supernumerary basis without affecting the present admission norms for Indian students".