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Cabinet gives nod to Higher Education Financing Agency (HEFA) to boost research

Cabinet gives nod to Higher Education Financing Agency (HEFA) to boost research

New Delhi : The government will soon set up a Higher Education Financing Agency (HEFA), that would provide the much needed funds to boost research oriented infrastructure for premiere institutions like IITs, NITs and IIMs. The Union Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, gave its nod to a proposal of the HRD ministry for creation of HEFA on Monday.

Speaking to reporters here, HRD minister Prakash Javadekar said HEFA would be jointly promoted by the identified promoter and HRD ministry with an authorised capital of Rs 2,000 crore of which government equity would be Rs 1,000 crore.

The HEFA would be formed as a SPV within a PSU Bank/ Government-owned-NBFC (Promoter) and it would leverage the equity to raise up to Rs 20,000 crore for funding projects for infrastructure and development of world class labs in institutions like IITs, IIMs and NITs etc, Javadekar said.

The HEFA would also mobilise CSR funds from PSUs and Corporates, which would in turn be released for promoting research and innovation in these institutions on grant basis, a statement released by the ministry said. HEFA would finance the civil and lab infrastructure projects through a 10-year loan, the statement said, adding that principal portion of the loan will be repaid through the ‘internal accruals’ (earned through the fee receipts, research earnings etc.) of the institutions.

The Government would service the interest portion through the regular Plan assistance. All the Centrally Funded Higher Educational Institutions would be eligible for joining as members of the HEFA.

When asked how HEFA would raise funds, officials said that it could be through bond market by floating education bonds or through debt market. For joining as members, the Institution should agree to escrow a specific amount from their internal accruals to HEFA for a period of 10 years. This secured future flows would be securitised by the HEFA for mobilising the funds from the market.

Each member institution would be eligible for a credit limit as decided by HEFA based on the amount agreed to be escrowed from the internal accruals, the statement said.