Rajya Sabha

July 27, 2017

Nadimul Haque speaks on The Indian Institutes of Information Technology (Public-Private Partnership) Bill, 2017

Nadimul Haque speaks on The Indian Institutes of Information Technology (Public-Private Partnership) Bill, 2017


Sir, I rise to speak on The Indian Institutes of Information Technology (Public-Private Partnership) Bill, 2017.

Sir, I would like to raise few issues about the Bill for further consideration by the Minister and also seek clarification about the clauses of the Bill.

Sir, in this Bill, it is mentioned ‘the investment of capital required to establish the proposed institute will be borne by the Central Government, the concerned State Government and industry partners in the ratio of 50:35:15. The recurring expenditure in the first five years of operation will be made available by the Central Government’.

What about the recurring expenditure after the completion of the first five years? Who exactly is responsible if some recurring expenditure still exists? Are those costs transferred on to students via fees? The Government needs to bring in some clarification on this point.

If the chairperson of an institute is appointed by the Central Government which makes them work directly for the Government and its interests, this could violate the privilege of being an autonomous institution and also result in too much Government interference.

The Government has to clarify the vetting process of inviting industry partners into the PPP. They would be actively participating in the governance of the institute as well as co-creating programmes. Vested interests should not stifle the growth of the institute or the careers of the students.

In the Bill, ‘the Industry peers would look into the funding and mentoring of start-ups’. Again, vested interests should not come to the fore and it should be ensured that start-ups are encouraged and allowed to function on their own without any external pressures.

It is proposed in the Bill for the creation of a corpus fund by an institute for its working. The corpus fund’s and other fund’s accountability has to be sacrosanct. There should be a mechanism in place, including regular audits, to ensure that the funds have not been misappropriated.

Sir, I would like to raise two very important points which have also been raised by my colleague and friend Ms Pratima Mondal in the Lok Sabha –

1. Many IIITs, including IIIT, Kalyani in Bengal, do not have their own building and occupy rental premises, resulting in operational problems.
2. Standardisation of fee structure amongst all the different IIITs would help in promoting equality and attracting an assortment of merit.

I would request the Honorary Human Resource Development Minister to please take all this into consideration.

In recent times, we have seen massive lay-offs plaguing the IT sector. It is because the IT sector is going through turbulent times. The numbers of employees who have lost their jobs in the current year is more than the last three years.

Sir, there are an increasing number of incidents in the premier institutions of the country involving allegations of harassment and humiliation, illegal promotions, and gender discrimination. These are very serious issues which are to be addressed. Therefore, a proper grievance redressal mechanism has to be developed in all the 20 IIITs and also in the new ones which are to be set up.

Sir, another very important point which needs to be addressed is the rising number of suicides in college campuses. We need to look at the underlying reasons behind this. Counsellors must be available at all campuses to provide psychological support to all students. Professors must ensure that students are nurtured in a stress-free environment.

Thank you.