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A Bill was introduced in the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday to make it obligatory for five central universities, including Delhi University and JNU, to lay their annual reports before Parliament. The Central Universities Laws (Amendment) Bill 2008, introduced by HRD Minister Arjun Singh, seeks to amend the Acts of Central Universities for laying of annual reports and audited accounts before both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha to apprise Parliament of their working. Such a provision was not there in the original Acts governing Banaras Hindu University, Delhi University, JNU, Northeastern Hill University and Hyderabad University. "It is, therefore, necessary to incorporate provisions in the Acts for the purpose of making obligatory the laying of the annual reports and audited accounts before both Houses of Parliament," the Statement of Objects and Reasons said. Fees in higher education institutes to be increased gradually Fees in existing higher education institutes should be gradually increased but upcoming institutions will follow the new norms from the beginning, Minister of State for Human Resources and Development D Purandeswari said. In a written reply to a question on the increasing fees in educational institutes in the Lok Sabha, on Tuesday the minister said, "In the 11th plan document, the Planning Commission suggested that most of the university students come from top 10 percent of the population and going by income levels, they would be able to pay fees amounting to 20 percent of the operating cost of general higher education". Therefore, the fee levels should be increased gradually in existing institutions but the new ones will have to implement the new norms from inception. To a separate question on allowing foreign institutions to establish their centers in India, the minister said, "Foreign Direct Investment in the education sector is subject to notified sectoral policy and equity caps. All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) already has regulations in place for entry and operation of foreign universities imparting technical education in the country,". "A legislative proposal for regulation of entry and operation of foreign educational institutions in India is under consideration," she added. Over Rs 10,300 crore collected as education cess in 2005-06 Over Rs 10,300 crore has been collected in a span of one year from the two percent education cess introduced in the Union Budget 2005-06. This information was provided by Minister of State for HRD M A A Fatmi while replying to a question in Lok Sabha on Tuesday on the amount earned as a result of the cess in the last three years. He said a total of Rs 10,393 crore was collected in one year since the cess was introduced, adding the revenue being earned as a result of the levy was being spent on improving the standard of primary education, universal education and in implementing and expanding the mid-day meal scheme in schools. To a question on the adult literacy mission, he said in the 11th Five Year Plan, people in the 35-plus age group would also be included in the project, which has been targeting the 18-33 age group so far. Stressing that the country was well on track to achieving 85 percent literacy rate by 2012, Fatmi said the gross enrolment ratio in schools has gone up to 110 percent and there was now 98 percent accessibility to schools. He, however, expressed concern over teachers not being present in schools in states like Madhya Pradesh and Orissa. Fatmi said the MPs, MLAs and Zila Parishad members were empowered to call meetings and seek any kind of information on the implementation of the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA). On the question of setting up of a South Asian University in the country, the Minister said a decision to establish a South Asian University has been taken in the 14th SAARC summit. An Inter-Governmental Steering Committee has also been constituted to finalise the modalities for operationalisation of the university. Studying in IIM to be dearer Graduating from three of the prestigious Indian Institutes of Management (IIM) would be dearer, with the institutes deciding to hike the fee from the 2008 academic year. The Boards of Governors of the IIMs at Ahmedabad, Bangalore and Kolkata have decided to raise the fee for the post graduate programme from the coming academic year, HRD Minister Arjun Singh said in a written reply in Lok Sabha on Tuesday. According to information provided by the Minister in the House, the maximum hike in fee has been effected by IIM, Bangalore, from Rs 2.50 lakh for the first year of the programme in 2007 to Rs four lakh in the coming session. Both IIM, Ahmedabad and IIM, Kolkata have decided to increase the fee from Rs two lakh to Rs three lakh. In reply to another query, he said the Union Government has not opposed the fee hike.
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