The BJP government is planning to reverse his stand on the Foreign Educational Institutions Bill initiated by the UPA II government during their time. Initially opposed the idea of having foreign institutions have their set-ups in India, the BJP is now adding a provision in the Higher Education Commission of India Bill, which will allow foreign universities build their campuses in India.
The new bill will replace the University Grants Commission (UGC) and the All India Council of Technical Education (AICTE) with a single higher education regulator. The bill is apparently sent out for consultation within the ministry.
The primary objections to the Foreign Educational Institutions Bill were the hike in the price of education it will bring with itself, and therefore the closing of accessibility bracket for the middle class and lower-middle-class students.
However, the paper released in April 2015 by the Commerce Ministry, was backed by the NITI Ayog and the ministries of Human Resource Development (HRD) and External Affairs, sparked Modi’s interest in the bill. The paper argued in favour of the bill, calling it great for rephrasing India as an education brand globally and improving the quality of education to an international level.
The HRD ministry had previously refused to the Commerce Ministry’s suggestion of placing the new foreign universities under the Special Economic Zones (SEZs) which will excuse them from repatriation.
With time, the HRD ministry has now included internationalization as a part of their five-year plan on improving Indian education. ‘Education Quality Upgradation and Inclusion Programme’ (EQUIP), the five-year plan has nudged the government to approach the bill with an open mind.