The ministry of human resource development has announced the constitution of a new body consisting representative of Industry and the academia, which will identify issues and opportunities and facilitate development of strategies and innovative instruments of collaboration between industry and universities in the country.
The Council for Industry and Higher Education Collaboration (CIHEC) will endeavor to mobilise additional resources to support these initiatives. The HRD ministry said.
The ministry had earlier set up a task force for rejuvenation of basic scientific research in Indian universities and, based on its recommendations, the ministry had initiated action for strengthening science-based education and research in universities.
The ministry is also funding research in social sciences and humanities through its various research councils, viz, the Indian Institute of Advanced Study (IIAS), the Indian Council of Social Science Research (ICSSR), the Indian Council of Philosophical Research (ICPR), the Indian Council of Historical Research (ICHR) and the National Council of Rural Institutes (NCRI).
Besides continuous increase in research funding for scientific departments, the government has been setting up new institutions for science education and research, creating centres of excellence and facilities in emerging and frontline areas in academic and national institutes, establishing new and attractive fellowships, strengthening the infrastructure of research and development (R&D) in universities, encouraging public-private R&D partnerships, recognising R&D through national awards for outstanding R&D for industries etc.
The University Grants Commission (UGC) has been providing financial assistance under its Special Assistance Programme (SAP) to university departments to put in place facilities to accelerate research in the country. Besides, the UGC has been taking steps to encourage students to undertake research work in universities through infrastructure grants to Centre of Advanced Study (CAS) / Departmental Special Assistance (DSA) / Departmental Research Support (DRS) / Non-SAP Departments, infrastructure grants to colleges with potential for excellence/autonomous colleges minor and major research projects, infrastructure grants to National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) accredited colleges, networking resource centres, Dr DS Kothari Post-Doctoral Fellowship, Research Fellowship in Sciences for Meritorious Students, Basic Scientific Research, emeritus fellowships, etc. In addition, the UGC is providing fellowships to those candidates who have qualified the UGC National Eligibility Test (NET) / UGC-Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) NET.
The centrally-sponsored scheme of Rashtriya Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan (RUSA) seeks to improve the overall quality of existing state higher educational institutions by ensuring their conformity to prescribed norms and standards and adoption of accreditation as a mandatory quality assurance framework. RUSA inter-alia provides funding under the component research, innovation and quality improvement.
Giving the information in the Rajya Sabha in a written reply, union minister for human resource development Smriti Irani also stated that the UGC has initiated a scheme called Operation Faculty Recharge for augmenting the research and teaching resources of universities to tackle the shortage of faculty in the university system. So far the UGC has recruited 163 faculties under this scheme, she said.
UGC, she stated, has also written to all the central universities to give top priority for identifying the causes for the vacancies and make concerted efforts to fill up the vacancies as per UGC norms, at an early date to ensure that the teaching work of the universities is not affected.
She said different universities and colleges are adopting different methods/processes to address faculty shortages in order to ensure that studies of students are not affected. These include hiring ad-hoc faculty, appointing temporary faculty, engaging services of retired teachers and engaging visiting faculty etc.
While approving the budget estimates (non-Plan) and revised estimates, the UGC has exhorted all central universities to fill up the teaching positions at the earliest, the minister added.