Higher educational institutions including the IITs, IIMs and central universities will not need cabinet nod for collaboration with foreign institutions, an order from the cabinet secretariat said.
The latest order communicated to the HRD ministry last week is the reversal of the earlier order from cabinet secretariat which said every MoU with a foreign institution will need to pass through the cabinet.
“Cabinet approval will be needed only for government to government collaborations and not for higher educational institutions signing MoUs with foreign universities,” an official told HT.
The new order will benefit IITs and IIMs which have more than 50 collaborations each with foreign universities.
Sources said the cabinet secretariat reversed its order after HRD ministry wrote to it saying the move would have a bearing on the autonomy of the IITs IIMs and central universities granted to them through their respective Acts.
For example section 6(1)(I) of the Institute of Technology Act, 1961, under which the IITs were set up says: “Every institute shall exercise the following powers and perform the duties, namely, to cooperate with educational or other institutions in any part of the world having objects wholly or partly similar to those of the institute by exchange of teachers and scholars and generally in such manner as may be conducive to their common objects.”
The ministry also argued that it did not have the wherewithal to scrutinize every MoU signed between different institutions.
The cabinet secretariat’s original order was issued to all ministries, departments including the HRD ministry on April 24. “It is advised that prior approval of the cabinet is required to be obtained by concerned ministries departments in all cases involving treatises, agreements and other important matter including MoUs to be signed by any agency with any foreign agency/country,” the circular said.