The government plans “corporatisation” of three important institutes — the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), the Satyajit Ray Film and Television Institute and the Delhi Public Library — and the merger of the Indian Institute of Mass Communication (IIMC) with either the Jawaharlal Nehru University or the Jamia Millia Islamia as part of the first phase of its review of 679 existing autonomous bodies.
The review of autonomous bodies, starting with those constituted under the Societies Registration Act, commenced in January this year and the first phase covered 114 bodies across seven ministries/departments. At the end, 42 — almost one-third — have been listed for “reduction” by being wound up entirely or being merged with other entities, or being reorganised under a common umbrella or being corporatised.
The review, being spearheaded by officials of the NITI Aayog and the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), picked for the first phase ministries/departments which have a high number of autonomous bodies with high quantum of central assistance.
Officials in the PMO told The Indian Express that the “corporatisation” of the three listed bodies could translate into them becoming independent companies or a special purpose vehicle (SPV) could possibly be formed shortly to take over their functioning.
Put together, 679 autonomous bodies spread across 68 ministries/departments have received central assistance of Rs 72,206 crore in the 2017-18 annual budget and that scores had issues of overlapping functions and definitional problems.
Of the 42 which are set to be “reduced”, there are 24 (under the Societies Registration Act) which will now be clubbed under a common umbrella. Of the rest, 11 autonomous bodies will be merged with other entities; four will be closed down and three will be up for a corporate makeover.
Key recommendations of the review committee include:
* The Indian Council of Historical Research; The Indian Council of Philosophical Research and the Indian Council of Social Science Research — all under the Ministry of Human Resource Development — have been listed for either being clubbed under the ICSSR umbrella or merger with JNU.
* Other bodies under the HRD Ministry — the National Council for Promotion of Sindhi Language, New Delhi will be merged with the Regional Centres of the CIIL (Central Institute of Indian Languages), Mysore or the University.
* The National Council for Promotion of Urdu Language, New Delhi will be merged with either the Jamia Millia Islamia or with MANU (Maulana Azad National Urdu University).
* The Maulana Abdul Kalam Azad Institute of Asian Studies is proposed to be merged with the Asiatic Society or “any other university”.
* On the list for review of autonomous bodies under the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, the Children’s Film Society of India is set to be merged with the Films Division which is also under the same ministry.
Later this month, a meeting of the review committee is being scheduled by the NITI Aayog to embark on the second phase of the rejig. It is slated to cover other ministries/departments, also covering the Societies Registration Act, as well as to evolve a new approach for setting up Centres of Excellence and Institutes of Higher Learning.
The third phase will cover all ministries/department and also those autonomous bodies which have been created other than under the Societies Registration Act.