A committee of Indian Institute of Technology directors has suggested a threefold hike in student fees to achieve greater financial autonomy for the sought-after schools, reported the Economic Times. The panel has also recommended creating a Rs 2,000-crore non-banking financial company that will offer interest-free loans for new projects, research labs and the development of campuses.

The committee observed that if annual student fees are hiked from the existing Rs 90,000 to Rs 3 lakh, this can cover the Rs 2,500-crore bill incurred by the institutes to pay salaries and maintain the campuses. The proposal is likely to be announced during the Union budget, which will be presented by Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley at the end of the month.

The recommendations came as part of a project called the 'Roadmap to Financial Autonomy of IITs', which included directors from several IITs as well as representatives from the human resource development and finance ministries. As IIT education is largely subsidised in the country, the issue of its burgeoning costs has repeatedly come up in ministerial meetings over the years. In October last year, the IIT council, which is headed by the HRD minister, had set up the committee and asked them to recommend ways to ensure that the institutions can keep themselves financially viable.