IIIT Bill taken up in Lok Sabha

New Delhi: A bill to bring four institutes of information technology under the ambit of a single authority was today taken up in Lok Sabha, a move that was welcomed by members from across the political spectrum.

Moving the Indian Institutes of Information and Technology (IIIT) Bill, 2014, for consideration, HRD Minister Smriti Irani said its passage would help realise Prime Minister Narendra Modi's dream of 'Digital India'.

The declaration of the IIITs as institutions of national importance was being initiated with a view to providing manpower of global standards for the information technology industry, the bill said.

The four institutes are IIIT-Allahabad, IIIT-Gwalior, IIIT Design and Manufacturing Jabalpur and IIIT Design and Manufacturing Kancheepuram.

These institutes, which receive grants-in-aid from the government, were sanctioned Rs 649.86 crore during the 11th plan period to meet their recurring and non-recurring expenditure. These institutes are fully funded by the central government but do not enjoy statutory status.

The bill, once passed, will give these institutions independent status with uniform policy framework. It will allow their students to get degrees.

Citing a report, Irani said electronics import bill is likely to exceed the oil import bill by 2020 and hence there was a need to declare these four institutes as institutes of national importance.

These institutes will help in creating manpower by educating people, Irani said. The bill was introduced in the Lok Sabha in the previous session in August. It was originally introduced in 2013, but lapsed with the 15th Lok Sabha as it could not be passed by
the previous government.

Initiating discussion on the bill, Jagdambika Pal (BJP) said these institutions should be strengthened on the lines of IITs to help create world class institutes of global standards.

"They should be brought under one umbrella act and more such institutes should be set up in other states so that they become institutes of human development," Pal said.

Praising the Bill, Rabindra Kumar Jena (BJD) demanded that one such institute be set up in Odisha.

BJP member S S Ahluwalia said the bill will help transform "jana sankhya" (population) to "jana shakti" (people's strength).

Opposition AIADMK, Telangana Rashtriya Samiti (TSR) and Indian National Lok Dal supported the bill.

"We fully support the bill, but we should have furturistic approach. We should not let the quality of the education to go down. We should create few institutes and let few scientists come out of it. But they should be such that would make India proud," TRS MP K Kavitha said.

She also cautioned migration of scientists from these institutes. Among those who participated in the debate were BJP MPs Rama Devi, Hukum Singh, Ajay Mishra, INLD MP Dushyant Chautala, Sikkim Democratic Front member P D Rai. The discussion remained inconclusive.

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