The Punjab Government, led by Captain Amarinder Singh, has decided to reduce the minimum land requirement for setting up private universities in the state from 35 to 25 acres.
The move is aimed at boosting investment in Higher Education, said an official spokesperson, after the state cabinet approved amendment to the Punjab Private University Policy-2010.The Chief Minister, however, stressed on the need to ensure that quality education standards are maintained in the private universities. Some private universities were offering courses that had no practical utility and failed to make students employable, he added.Captain Amarinder inquired about the progress of the expert committee and the cabinet sub-committee set up by his government to study the possibility of setting up a regulatory authority for private universities in the state. He was informed that the expert committee had submitted its report,, which would be sent to the cabinet sub-committee for its recommendations and further action.The amendment approved today by the cabinet would be subject to further clauses under the policy, including submission of proof of ownership of a minimum of 25 acres of land, or as per the norms of the concerned Central regulatory body, whichever is higher, in one contiguous chunk.
The decision has been taken in view of the higher cost of land in Punjab as compared to other states. Besides, it would also be instrumental in retaining maximum land under agriculture in Punjab, which is pre-dominantly an agrarian state.It is expected that the decision would lead to drawing higher investments in the field of higher education by making the sector more attractive to prospective entrepreneurs.The Punjab Private University Policy-2010 was formulated to expand infrastructure in the higher education sector by the private organisations across the state. As per Article 4.5 (iii) of this policy, the minimum land required for establishing a Private University was 35 acres.Information gathered from the other states shows the corresponding land requirement for establishing private universities there varies from 10 acres to 50 acres. For instance, in Haryana it is 20 acres outside municipal limits and 10 acres within municipal limits. In Himachal Pradesh, the minimum land requirement to establish a private university is 10 acres, Rajasthan 30 acres, Madhya Pradesh 20 acres.In Maharashtra, 50 acres is required to set up a private university in rural area, 25 acres in Tehsil or District Headquarters, 15 acres in Divisional Headquarters and 10 acres in Mumbai Metropolitan Region.