NEW DELHI: State funded institutes ranging
from the IITs and IIMs to even the National School of Drama and public museums
have been nudged to increase their revenue by the government. The central
government feels that it’s high time that these institutions move towards
All government departments and ministries
have been directed by the Finance Ministry to check on the various autonomous
and funded institutes, and bodies under them, and hold a review to assess
whether adequate “user charges “ are being levied for the services they are
“The larger aim is to ensure that all these
institutions make a conscious effort towards periodic review and
rationalisation of user charges, and explore various ways of doing so,” Finance
Secretary Ashok Lavasa revealed to a leading financial daily. “These are assets
built from public money and they must explore various revenue streams. This was
also a recommendation of the expenditure panel,” he added.
User charges at funded institutions such as
IITs and IIMs mainly comprise of the student fee, whereas in the case of cultural
bodies and museums, entry tickets make up for user charges. Bodies under
infrastructure ministries have more sources such as rentals from real estate
along with tickets and tolls.
An increase in fee paid by students becomes
a politically sensitive issue as it gets flak for going against principles of
equitable and accessible education. But as far as monuments and museums are
concerned, many people are supporting a hike in the prices of tickets as is the
case in many nations which utilise the revenue thus earned, for better maintenance.
“Many institutions are in a position to
recover higher charges through either the infrastructure they have or through
other services and this can add to the revenue stream. The aim is to get them
to do so,” Lavasa commented.
On the instructions of the finance ministry,
ministries across the board are holding meetings to review the user charges.
While many departments of petroleum ministry held a meeting on Friday, the
culture ministry held discussion on the issue, earlier in the week.
While all government-funded institutions are
broadly expected to look at models of revenue generation, as per general
financial rules, the finance ministry this time is now going the extra mile to
make sure that user charges are levied if this is not being done already and to
increase them if needed. Officials revealed that all autonomous bodies are handing
over the required data to the financial advisor in the concerned ministries.