The Bihar government is set to amend the Bihar Private University Act, 2013, to relax norms for meeting infrastructure requirement of new institutions.
The Bihar Private Universities (Amendment) Bill, 2017, which will be tabled in the Bihar legislative assembly during the ongoing session (February 23 to March 31, 2017), proposes to allow universities to commence functioning from makeshift venues, provided they meet all other conditions.
With the amendment, new private universities will be able to commence operations if they have a makeshift venue of 5,000 square metres of builtup area.
Further, if they are unable to develop the prescribed 10,000 square metres of builtup area within the stipulated period of two years, they will get another two years to complete it, says the draft bill.
The move is aimed at facilitating early functioning of private universities to ensure improvement in the state’s gross enrolment ratio (GER), which is presently 13% against the national average of 21%. The Centre plans to take it to 30% by 2020.
Since the passage of the private universities bill in 2013, the state has so far received 14 proposals, though none has become functional for want of desired infrastructure.
At present, Bihar has no private university, while it has 13 state universities, including open, agriculture and technical universities. With the state universities also functioning at less than half the sanctioned strength of faculty, quality of education is a big casualty, forcing thousands of students to migrate to other cities in search of better avenues.
The state government has announced setting up three more universities, but considering the demand, they would still be inadequate.
“The detailed project reports of 12 of the 14 proposals received for setting up universities have been referred to a committee of experts for examination. Committees will be formed to scrutinise the other two. Seven projects have been approved and letter of intent issued, while two more will be issued in the next few days,” said an education department official.
According to rules for private universities, framed in 2014, one would require to apply a year in advance from the proposed date of setting up a private university, with legal documents for ownership or lease of land — 10 acres in non-municipal area and five acres in municipal area — and an application fee (non-refundable) of Rs 10 lakh.