The finance ministry has written to all government departments and ministries, directing them to check on the various autonomous and funded institutes, and bodies under them, and hold a review to assess whether they are levying adequate “user charges” for services they are providing.
Narendra Modi government has conveyed to all state funded institutes ranging from the IITs and IIMs to even the National School of Drama and public museums that it’s high time you earned enough revenue.
“The larger aim is to ensure that all these institutions make a conscious effort towards periodic review and rationalization of user charges, and explore various ways of doing so,” Finance Secretary Ashok Lavasa said.
“These are assets built from public money and they must explore various revenue streams. This was also a recommendation of the expenditure panel,” he said.
Student fee largely makes up user charges at funded institutions such as IITs and IIMs, and entry tickets do so in the case of cultural bodies and museums, while bodies under infrastructure ministries have more sources such as rentals from real estate along with tickets and tolls.
Hike in student fee is a politically sensitive issue since it invites charges of going against principles of equitable and accessible education. In the case of monuments and museums, though, many want higher priced tickets as is the case in many nations which use the revenue for better maintenance.