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Cabinet Approves Funds To Boost Educational Infrastructure

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) on Wednesday approved a proposal for expanding the scope of Higher Education Financing Agency (HEFA) by expanding its capital base to Rs 10,000 crore.

The CCEA also tasked the HEFA to mobilise Rs 1,00,000 crore for Revitalising Infrastructure and Systems in Higher Education (RISE) by 2022.

The CCEA, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, approved the proposal to expand this facility to all institutions, especially set up after 2014, Central Universities which have very little internal resources and the school education or health education infrastructure like AIIMS and Kendriya Vidyalayas.

The CCEA has approved five windows for financing under HEFA and the modalities of repaying the principal portion of the fund (interest continues to be serviced through government grants in all these cases).

HEFA was set up on May 31, 2017 by the Central government as a Non ­Profit, Non Banking Financing Company (NBFC) for mobilising extra-budgetary resources for building crucial infrastructure in the higher educational institutions under the Central government.

According to a statement, the CCEA also approved that the modalities for raising money from the market through government guaranteed bonds and commercial borrowings would be decided in consultation with the Department of Economic Affairs so that the funds are mobilised at the least cost.

"This would enable addressing the needs of all educational institutions with differing financial capacity in an inclusive manner," the statement said.

In the existing arrangement, the entire principle portion is repaid by the institution over ten years and the interest portion is serviced by the government by providing additional grants to the institution. So far, funding proposals worth Rs 2,016 crore have been approved by the HEFA.

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