Approval from the Union Cabinet would not be compulsory for the premier institutes like IITs and IIMs regarding their tie-ups with foreign institutes. Exemption by the government to IITs and IIMs had been given and this was stated by the Ministry of Human Resource Development. According to the ministry, these institutes can sign MoU with an institution abroad, subjected to the approval from the board of governors, with the agreement MoU satisfying national education policy, Acts of parliament and any other popular laws of land.
HRD ministry further stated that, the agreement would be signed with the foreign based institutes with ministry’s approval suppose if there was any provision in the Act of institution for signing tie-ups with foreign agency. In the month of February this year, directives had been issued to all ministries and organizations by the Cabinet Secretary, to get Cabinet’s permission before signing any agreement with foreign agency. This is as per the provisions of transactions of government business rules.
Cabinet secretary, though exempted agreements pertaining to science, technology and culture, insisted that MoUs on two subjects must get approved by the minister in-charge of the concerned department, external affairs minister and finally by an inter-ministerial consultation. Those agreements must not create problems to the national security or India’s relations with foreign countries.
The reasoning or explanations for the institutions signing MoUs with foreign institutions must be provided as per the old law. As HRD ministry indicated difficulties in the scrutinizing process of all MoUs, the Union Cabinet reversed its order and spared many institutions from its seeking approval.
After HRD Minister Smriti Irani questioned the validity of an MoU between IIT Delhi and Mauritius Research Council in setting up a International Institute of Technology Research Academy in Mauritius in 2013, Cabinet order was passed in February 2015 regarding that IITs AND IIMs would be benefited by the new order as they have 50 tie-ups with institutions in foreign countries. By this, autonomy of higher education institutes would be secured and protected.