IIT Bombay
The panel wants to achieve financial autonomy for the institution. In Picture: Campus of Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay. [Representational Image]Creative Commons/JanPhilipp

In order to achieve greater financial autonomy for the institutions, a committee of Indian Institute of Technology directors has recommended a 200 percent hike in students' annual fees.

The panel has suggested the IITs raise annual student fees to Rs 3 lakh from the present fee of Rs 90,000. By doing so, the panel has observed, the institutions would be able to cover costs of salaries and maintenance, The Economic Times reported.

The panel also suggested creation of a Rs 2,000 crore Non Banking Financial Company (NBFC), which will provide interest free loans for projects and research infrastructure. 

Directors from Bombay, Madras, and Kanpur IITs, among others, came up with a roadmap to financial autonomy of the IITs in consultation with ministers from finance and HRD ministry.

"The proposals are being considered and could be among the budgetary announcements this year," an official was quoted as saying by the publication. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley will present the annual budget at the end of February.

According to the committee directors, in order to fund research and infrastructural developments, new financial methods are necessary. Reportedly, the panel plans to cover up for the fee hike through a loan programme.

"The idea is to rationalise fees in such a way that at least the salary and maintenance costs of an IIT are taken care of, else this becomes a very difficult situation. Almost 50 percent plan grants to an IIT are consumed by scholarships," an IIT director who supported the plan said.

At present, there are 18 functioning IITs, while five are yet to begin operations. Of the 2,000 crore fund for the NBFC entity, half is expected to come via the government and the remaining through CSR initiatives. The main objective of the NBFC is to get interest-free loans for a period of five to 10 years. The estimated maintenance bill and salary bill of the IITs is about Rs 2,500 crore, the publication added.

"We cannot keep subsisting at sub-critical levels and also face all-round criticism for not making a mark globally. We need to grow as institutes and this NBFC-like system will allow to borrow a kind of refunding loan for scaling up our infrastructure and research," another IIT director said.