India's Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs has given the go-ahead
to Manipal Academy of Higher Education (MAHE) to set up such a facility.
The university will be set up at an estimated cost of Rs 6 billion.
The idea of an exclusive university for PIOs/NRIs was first mooted by
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (Overseas
Indians conference) in 2006.
The rationale is to have a multi-disciplinary university with seats
reserved for PIOs/NRIs. Universities in India face restrictions and
regulations in admitting PIO/NRI students. Besides, not all of them
provide these students with the courses they opt for.
Currently, an Indian university is allowed to reserve 15% seats for
Around 25mn PIOs/NRIs are scattered in nearly 130 countries. Around
3.5mn of them are thought to be in the Gulf, including over 400,000
in Qatar. Experts estimate India needs at least 1,133 more universities.
The existing 367 universities cater to a meager 7% of the 18-24 year
age group as compared to at least 15% average for Asia. At any given
time, over 40,000 foreign students (including PIO/NRIs) from about 100
countries study in India. In addition, nearly 2,000 foreign students
study in India under various governments scholarship schemes.
According to sources, MAHE would develop the university in two phases
on 200 acres of land. The multi-disciplinary university would be self-financed.
In the first phase, the PIO/NRI University would offer courses in engineering,
information technology, humanities, biotechnology and business administration.
Subsequently, a medical college with 100 seats, attached to a multi-specialty
hospital, would be set up, the sources added. The university will be
run by a special trust that will also have Non Resident Indians as trustees.
The fee will be in foreign currency. Even Indian students will have
to pay the fee in foreign currency.