The HRD ministry has decided to bring in legislation for 16 new central universities to be set up over the next five years. The Bill is likely to be introduced in the winter session of Parliament.
According to ministry officials, a draft called the Central Universities Act has been circulated to different ministries, seeking their views. The draft will be readied for Cabinet approval some time in November. The government has decided to allocate Rs 300 crore for each of the 16 universities over the next five years.
Ministry officials say the new law intends to provide a uniform calendar in all central universities and mobility of students within central varsities. "The law is in accordance with international standards of higher education," said an official.
The new universities will be modelled on Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU). The draft law prepared in consultation with education experts gives autonomy to the academic and executive councils of the new universities.
The Planning Commission had recommended a common entrance examination for admission to all central universities. A provision making this feasible is likely to be incorporated in the new legislation.
The government has already shortlisted the states where the new universities will be set up. Orissa and Bihar are some of the states in contention. The Prime Minister has approved a plan for higher education, envisioning new central varsities, 370 new colleges and 6,000 higher secondary schools.