Somaiya Vidyavihar joins the bandwagon of colleges seeking autonomy and the state higher education department has promised to hasten the process and ensure that by next year all formalities will be complete.
At the concluding ceremony of the 50-year celebration of the institute, Vice President Samir Somaiya said that for the institute to move forward, autonomy was required.
"I want students to be able to pursue music and mechanical engineering together or meditation and political science together. We have every discipline on campus and we want to open it up for all our students," he said.
There are 37 institutes on the 65-acre campus at Vidyavihar. The institute wants autonomy primarily for its management, engineering and spiritual centres. St Xavier's College was the first college to gain academic autonomy two months ago.
Academic autonomy is a time consuming process with several bureaucratic hurdles. First the university has to approve the application after which it moves to the state government and finally to the University Grants Commission, the apex body for all universities.
But state higher and technical education minister Rajesh Tope said that he will now cut through the delays in the process. "By next year, we will ensure that all the procedures are complete and the proposal will move the UGC," said Tope.
While the state government encourages autonomy, colleges have been shying away from it because it would mean breaking away from the brand of the university. Also, the 11-member governing council of an autonomous institution has only five members from the management, which does not go down well with most college managements.