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Recent version by Nikos Zygouritsas, LRF
Earlier versions by members of Re.ViCa

For entities in India see Category:India


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India in a nutshell

India, officially the Republic of India (Hindi: भारत गणराज्य Bhārat Gaṇarājya), is a country in South Asia.

It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country, and the most populous democracy in the world. Bounded by the Indian Ocean on the south, the Arabian Sea on the west, and the Bay of Bengal on the east, India has a coastline of 7,517 kilometers (4,671 mi). It is bordered by Pakistan to the west; People's Republic of China (PRC), Nepal, and Bhutan to the north; and Bangladesh and Myanmar to the east. India is in the vicinity of Sri Lanka, the Maldives, and Indonesia in the Indian Ocean.

The population of India is 1,147 million.

India is a republic consisting of 28 states and seven union territories with a parliamentary system of democracy. It has the world's twelfth largest economy at market exchange rates and the fourth largest in purchasing power. Economic reforms since 1991 have transformed it into one of the fastest growing economies; however, it still suffers from high levels of poverty, illiteracy, and malnutrition.

A pluralistic, multilingual, and multi-ethnic society, India is also home to a diversity of wildlife in a variety of protected habitats.

For the states and territories of India see Category:States and territories of India


The preamble of the constitution defines India as a sovereign, socialist, secular, democratic republic. India has a bicameral parliament operating under a Westminster-style parliamentary system. Its form of government was traditionally described as being "quasi-federal" with a strong centre and weaker states, but it has grown increasingly federal since the late 1990s as a result of political, economic and social changes.

The President of India is the head of state, elected indirectly by an electoral college for a five-year term.

The Prime Minister is the head of government and exercises most executive powers. Appointed by the President, the Prime Minister is by convention supported by the party or political alliance holding the majority of seats in the lower house of Parliament.

The executive branch consists of the President, Vice-President, and the Council of Ministers (the Cabinet being its executive committee) headed by the Prime Minister. Any minister holding a portfolio must be a member of either house of parliament. In the Indian parliamentary system, the executive is subordinate to the legislature, with the Prime Minister and his Council being directly responsible to the lower house of the Parliament.

The Legislature of India is the bicameral Parliament, which consists of the upper house called the Rajya Sabha (Council of States) and the lower house called the Lok Sabha (House of People). The Rajya Sabha, a permanent body, has 245 members serving staggered six year terms. Most are elected indirectly by the state and territorial legislatures in proportion to the state's population. 543 of the Lok Sabha's 545 members are directly elected by popular vote to represent individual constituencies for five year terms. The other two members are nominated by the President from the Anglo-Indian community if the President is of the opinion that the community is not adequately represented.

India has a unitary three-tier judiciary, consisting of the Supreme Court, headed by the Chief Justice of India, twenty-one High Courts, and a large number of trial courts. The Supreme Court has original jurisdiction over cases involving fundamental rights and over disputes between states and the Centre, and appellate jurisdiction over the High Courts. It is judicially independent, and has the power to declare the law and to strike down Union or State laws which contravene the Constitution. The role as the ultimate interpreter of the Constitution is one of the most important functions of the Supreme Court.


India consists of twenty-eight states and seven Union Territories. All states, and the two union territories of Puducherry and the National Capital Territory of Delhi, have elected legislatures and governments patterened on the Westminister model. The other five union territories have centrally appointed administrators and hence are under direct rule of the President. In 1956, under the States Reorganisation Act, states were formed on a linguistic basis. Since then, this structure has remained largely unchanged. Each state or union territory is further divided into 610 districts for basic governance and administration. The districts in turn are further divided into tehsils and eventually into villages.

The States are:

  1. Andhra Pradesh
  2. Arunachal Pradesh
  3. Assam
  4. Bihar
  5. Chhattisgarh
  6. Goa
  7. Gujarat
  8. Haryana
  9. Himachal Pradesh
  10. Jammu and Kashmir
  11. Jharkhand
  12. Karnataka
  13. Kerala
  14. Madhya Pradesh
  15. Maharashtra
  16. Manipur
  17. Meghalaya
  18. Mizoram
  19. Nagaland
  20. Orissa
  21. Punjab
  22. Rajasthan
  23. Sikkim
  24. Tamil Nadu
  25. Tripura
  26. Uttar Pradesh
  27. Uttarakhand
  28. West Bengal

Union Territories:

  1. Andaman and Nicobar Islands
  2. Chandigarh
  3. Dadra and Nagar Haveli
  4. Daman and Diu
  5. Lakshadweep
  6. National Capital Territory of Delhi
  7. Puducherry


With an estimated population of 1.17 billion, representing 17% of the world population, India is the world's second most populous country. The last 50 years have seen a rapid increase in population due to medical advances and massive increase in agricultural productivity made by the green revolution.

Almost 70% of Indians reside in rural areas, although in recent decades migration to larger cities has led to a dramatic increase in the country's urban population. India's largest cities are Mumbai (formerly Bombay), Delhi, Kolkata (formerly Calcutta), Chennai (formerly Madras), Bengaluru (formerly Bangalore), Hyderabad and Ahmedabad.

India is the most culturally, linguistically and genetically diverse geographical entity after the African continent. India is home to two major linguistic families: Indo-Aryan (spoken by about 74% of the population) and Dravidian (spoken by about 24%). Other languages spoken in India come from the Austro-Asiatic and Tibeto-Burman linguistic families.

Hindi, with the largest number of speakers, is the official language of the union.

English, which is extensively used in business and administration, has the status of a 'subsidiary official language'; it is also important in education, especially as a medium of higher education.

In addition, every state and union territory has its own official languages, and the constitution also recognises in particular 21 other languages that are either abundantly spoken or have classical status. While Sanskrit and Tamil have been studied as classical languages for many years, the Government of India, using its own criteria, has also accorded classical language status to Kannada and Telugu. The number of dialects in India is as high as 1,652.

Over 800 million Indians (80.5%) are Hindu. Other religious groups include

  • Muslims (13.4%),
  • Christians (2.3%),
  • Sikhs (1.9%),
  • Buddhists (0.8%),
  • Jains (0.4%),
  • Jews, Zoroastrians, Bahá'ís and others.

Tribals constitute 8.1% of the population.

India has the third-highest Muslim population in the world and has the highest population of Muslims for a non-Muslim majority country.

India's literacy rate is 64.8% (53.7% for females and 75.3% for males). The state of Kerala has the highest literacy rate (91%); Bihar has the lowest (47%). The national human sex ratio is 944 females per 1,000 males.

India's median age is 24.9, and the population growth rate of 1.38% per annum; there are 22.01 births per 1,000 people per year.

India education policy

Education in India is provided by the public sector as well as the private sector, with control and funding coming from three levels: federal, state, and local. Child education is compulsory. The Nalanda University was the oldest university-system of education in the world. Western education became ingrained into Indian society with the establishment of the British Raj.

Education in India falls under the control of both the Union Government and the states, with some responsibilities lying with the Union and the states having autonomy for others. The various articles of the Indian Constitution provide for education as a fundamental right. Most universities in India are Union or State Government controlled.

India has made progress in terms of increasing primary education attendance rate and expanding literacy to approximately two thirds of the population. India's improved education system is often cited as one of the main contributors to the economic rise of India. Much of the progress specially in Higher education, Scientific research has been credited to various public institutions. The private education market in India is merely 5% although in terms of value is estimated to be worth $40 billion in 2008 and will increase to $68 billion by 2012.

However, India continues to face stern challenges. Despite growing investment in education, 25% of its population is still illiterate; only 15% of Indian students reach high school, and just 7% graduate. As of 2008, India's post-secondary high schools offer only enough seats for 7% of India's college-age population, 25% of teaching positions nationwide are vacant, and 57% of college professors lack either a master's or PhD degree. As of 2011, there are 1522 degree-granting engineering colleges in India with an annual student intake of 582,000, plus 1,244 polytechnics with an annual intake of 265,000. However, these institutions face shortage of faculty and concerns have been raised over the quality of education.

Not a single Indian university was in the top 300 of Academic Ranking of World Universities in 2006. However, six Indian Institutes of Technology and Birla Institute of Technology and Science - Pilani, were listed among the top 20 science and technology schools in Asia by Asiaweek. The Indian School of Business was ranked number 15 in global MBA rankings by the Financial Times of London in 2009 while the All India Institute of Medical Sciences has been recognized as a global leader in medical research and treatment. Similarly, the National Law School of India University situated in Bangalore is often considered to be the best law school in South Asia and a pioneer in legal education in India.

India education system

The central government of India formulated the National Policy on Education (NPE) in 1986 and also reinforced the Programme of Action (POA) in 1986. The government initiated several measures the launching of DPEP (District Primary Education Programme) and SSA (Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, India's initiative for Education for All) and setting up of Navodaya Vidyalaya and other selective schools in every district, advances in female education, inter-disciplinary research and establishment of open universities. India's NPE also contains the National System of Education, which ensures some uniformity while taking into account regional education needs. The NPE also stresses on higher spending on education, envisaging a budget of more than 6% of the Gross Domestic Product. While the need for wider reform in the primary and secondary sectors is recognized as an issue, the emphasis is also on the development of science and technology education infrastructure.

The National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) is the apex body for school education in India. The NCERT provides support and technical assistance to a number of schools in India and oversees many aspects of enforcement of education policies.

In India, the various bodies governing the school education system are:

  • The state government boards, in which the majority of Indian children are enrolled.
  • The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) board.
  • The Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations (CISCE) board.
  • The National Institute of Open Schooling.
  • International schools affiliated to the International Baccalaureate Programme and/or the Cambridge International Examinations.
  • Islamic Madrasah schools, whose boards are controlled by local state governments, or autonomous, or affiliated with Darul Uloom Deoband.
  • Autonomous schools like Woodstock School, Auroville, Patha Bhavan and Ananda Marga Gurukula.

In addition, NUEPA (National University of Educational Planning and Administration) and NCTE (National Council for Teacher Education) are responsible for the management of the education system and teacher accreditation.

Primary education

The Indian government lays emphasis to primary education up to the age of fourteen years. The Indian government has also banned child labor in order to ensure that the children do not enter unsafe working conditions. However, both free education and the ban on child labor are difficult to enforce due to economic disparity and social conditions. 80% of all recognized schools at the Elementary Stage are government run or supported, making it the largest provider of education in the Country. However, due to shortage of resources and lack of political will, this system suffers from massive gaps including high pupil to teacher ratios, shortage of infrastructure and poor levels of teacher training. Education has also been made free for children for 6 to 14 years of age or up to class VIII under the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act 2009.

There have been several efforts to enhance quality made by the government. The District Education Revitalization Programme (DERP) was launched in 1994 with an aim to universalize primary education in India by reforming and vitalizing the existing primary education system. 85% of the DERP was funded by the central government and the remaining 15 percent was funded by the states. The DERP, which had opened 160000 new schools including 84000 alternative education schools delivering alternative education to approximately 3.5 million children, was also supported by UNICEF and other international programmes. This primary education scheme has also shown a high Gross Enrollment Ratio of 93–95% for the last three years in some states. Significant improvement in staffing and enrollment of girls has also been made as a part of this scheme. The current scheme for universalization of Education for All is the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan which is one of the largest education initiatives in the world. Enrollment has been enhanced, but the levels of quality remain low.

Private education According to current estimates, 80% of all schools are government schools making the government the major provider of education. However, because of poor quality of public education, 27% of Indian children are privately educated. According to some research, private schools often provide superior results at a fraction of the unit cost of government schools. However, others have suggested that private schools fail to provide education to the poorest families, a selective being only a fifth of the schools and have in the past ignored Court orders for their regulation. In their favour, it has been pointed out that private schools cover the entire curriculum and offer extra-curricular activities such as science fairs, general knowledge, sports, music and drama. The pupil teacher ratios are much better in private schools (1:31 to 1:37 for government schools and more teachers in private schools are female. There is some disgreement over which system has better educated teachers. According to the latest DISE survey, the percentage of untrained teachers (paratechers) is 54.91% in private, compared to 44.88% in government schools and only 2.32% teachers in unaided schools receive inservice training compared to 43.44% for government schools. The competition in the school market is intense, yet most schools make profit. Even the poorest often go to private schools despite the fact that government schools are free. A study found that 65% of schoolchildren in Hyderabad's slums attend private schools. Private schools are often operating illegally. A 2001 study found that it takes 14 different licenses from four different authorities to open a private school in New Delhi and could take years if done legally. However, operation of unrecognized schools has been made illegal under the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act which has also significantly simplified the process of obtaining recognition.

Homeschooling Homeschooling is legal in India, though it is the less explored option. The Indian Government's stance on the issue is that parents are free to teach their children at home, if they wish to and have the means. HRD Minister Kapil Sibal has stated that despite the RTE Act of 2009, if someone decides not to send his/her children to school, the government would not interfere.

A multilingual web portal on Primary Education is available with rich multimedia content for children and forums to discuss on the Educational issues. India Development Gateway is a nationwide initiative that seeks to facilitate rural empowerment through provision of responsive information, products and services in local languages

Secondary education

The National Policy on Education (NPE), 1986, has provided for environment awareness, science and technology education, and introduction of traditional elements such as Yoga into the Indian secondary school system. Secondary education covers children 14–18 which covers 88.5 million children according to the Census, 2001. However, enrolment figures show that only 31 million of these children were attending schools in 2001–02, which means that two-third of the population remained out of school. A significant feature of India's secondary school system is the emphasis on inclusion of the disadvantaged sections of the society. Professionals from established institutes are often called to support in vocational training. Another feature of India's secondary school system is its emphasis on profession based vocational training to help students attain skills for finding a vocation of his/her choosing. A significant new feature has been the extension of SSA to secondary education in the form of the Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan.

A special Integrated Education for Disabled Children (IEDC) programme was started in 1974. Another notable special programme, the Kendriya Vidyalaya project, was started for the employees of the central government of India, who are distributed throughout the country. The government started the Kendriya Vidyalaya project in 1965 to provide uniform education in institutions following the same syllabus at the same pace regardless of the location to which the employee's family has been transferred.

Technical education From the first Five Year Plan onwards India's emphasis was to develop a pool of scientifically inclined manpower. India's National Policy on Education (NPE) provisioned for an apex body for regulation and development of higher technical education, which came into being as the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) in 1987 through an act of the Indian parliament. At the Central(federal) level, the Indian Institutes of Technology and the Indian Institutes of Information Technology are deemed of national importance. The Indian Institutes of Management are among the nation's premier education facilities. Several Regional Engineering Colleges (REC) have been converted into National Institutes of Technology. The UGC has inter-university centres at a number of locations throughout India to promote common research, e.g. the Nuclear Science Centre at the Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. Besides there are some British established colleges such as Harcourt Butler Technological Institute situated in Kanpur and King George Medical University situated in Lucknow which are inportant center of higher education. In addition to above institutes, efforts towards the enhancement of technical education are supplemented by a number of recognized Professional Engineering Societies like:

  • the Institution of Engineers (India);
  • the Institution of Chemical Engineering (India);
  • the Institution of Electronics and Tele-Communication Engineers (India);
  • the Indian Institute of Metals;
  • the Institution of Industrial Engineers (India);
  • the Institute of Town Planners (India)
  • he Indian Institute of Architects etc.,

who conduct Engineering/Technical Examinations at different levels(Degree and diploma) for working professionals desirous of improving their technical qualifications.

Literacy According to the Census of 2011, "every person above the age of 7 years who can read and write in any language is said to be literate". According to this criterion, the 2011 survey holds the National Literacy Rate to be around 74%. Government statistics of 2001 also hold that the rate of increase in literacy is more in rural areas than in urban areas. Female literacy was at a national average of 65% whereas the male literacy was 82%. Within the Indian states, Kerala has shown the highest literacy rates of 93% whereas Bihar averaged 63.8% literacy. The 2001 statistics also indicated that the total number of 'absolute non-literates' in the country was 304 million.

Attainment World Bank statistics found that fewer than 40 percent of adolescents in India attend secondary schools. The Economist reports that half of 10-year-old rural children could not read at a basic level, over 60% were unable to do division, and half dropped out by the age 14.

Rural education Following independence, India viewed education as an effective tool for bringing social change through community development. The administrative control was effectively initiated in the 1950s, when, in 1952, the government grouped villages under a Community Development Block—an authority under national programme which could control education in up to 100 villages. A Block Development Officer oversaw a geographical area of 150 square miles (390 km2) which could contain a population of as many as 70000 people. Despite some setbacks the rural education programmes continued throughout the 1950s, with support from private institutions. A sizable network of rural education had been established by the time the Gandhigram Rural Institute was established and 5, 200 Community Development Blocks were established in India. Nursery schools, elementary schools, secondary school, and schools for adult education for women were set up. The government continued to view rural education as an agenda that could be relatively free from bureaucratic backlog and general stagnation. However, in some cases lack of financing balanced the gains made by rural education institutes of India. Some ideas failed to find acceptability among India's poor and investments made by the government sometimes yielded little results. Today, government rural schools remain poorly funded and understaffed. Several foundations, such as the Rural Development Foundation (Hyderabad), actively build high-quality rural schools, but the number of students served is small.

Higher education

India's higher education system is the third largest in the world, after China and the United States. The main governing body at the tertiary level is the University Grants Commission (India), which enforces its standards, advises the government, and helps coordinate between the centre and the state. Accreditation for higher learning is overseen by 12 autonomous institutions established by the University Grants Commission.

As of 2009, India has 20 central universities, 215 state universities, 100 deemed universities, 5 institutions established and functioning under the State Act, and 13 institutes which are of national importance. Other institutions include 16000 colleges, including 1800 exclusive women's colleges, functioning under these universities and institutions. The emphasis in the tertiary level of education lies on science and technology. Indian educational institutions by 2004 consisted of a large number of technology institutes. Distance learning is also a feature of the Indian higher education system. Some institutions of India, such as the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), have been globally acclaimed for their standard of undergraduate education in engineering. The IITs enroll about 8000 students annually and the alumni have contributed to both the growth of the private sector and the public sectors of India. However IITs barely has any contribution in fundamemtal scientific research and innovation. Some Institute of Basic research like Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science(IACS), Indian Institute of Science IISC), Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TFIR) has acclaimed for their standard of research in basic science. However, India has failed to produce world class universities like Harvard or Cambridge.

Besides top rated universities which provide highly competitive world class education to their pupils, India is also home to many universities which have been founded with the sole objective of making easy money. Regulatory authorities like UGC and AICTE have been trying very hard to extirpate the menace of private universities which are running courses without any affiliation or recognition. Students from rural and semi urban background often fall victim to these institutes and colleges.

Three Indian universities were listed in the Times Higher Education list of the world’s top 200 universities — Indian Institutes of Technology, Indian Institutes of Management, and Jawaharlal Nehru University in 2005 and 2006. Six Indian Institutes of Technology and the Birla Institute of Technology and Science – Pilani were listed among the top 20 science and technology schools in Asia by Asiaweek. The Indian School of Business situated in Hyderabad was ranked number 12 in global MBA rankings by the Financial Times of London in 2010 while the All India Institute of Medical Sciences has been recognized as a global leader in medical research and treatment.

Universities in India

Central Universities

(sourced from

While other universities in the country are established by the State Governments, a Central University in India is formed by the Government of India, by an Act of Parliament.

The Government of India is responsible for arranging, allocating and distributing financial resources required by the University Grants Commission (UGC) for the establishment of Central Universities in India. Currently there are 20 Central Universities in India.

Some of the special features of Central Universities are-

  • The President of India acts as the "Visitor" for all the Central Universities
  • The President has the power to nominate a few members to the Executive Committee/Board of Management/Court/Selection Committees of the University in terms of the various statutes and provisions laid down in the University Act.
  • The Ministry of Human Resources and Development (MHRD) assists the President of India in the appointment of Vice Chancellors, Court Nominees and Selection Committee Nominees.

The following are the Central Universities in India:

  1. Aligarh Muslim University (AMU), Aligarh, Uttar Pradesh
  2. Assam University, Silchar
  3. Banaras Hindu University (BHU)
  4. Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar University,Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh
  5. English and Foreign Languages University
  6. Indraprastha University
  7. Jamia Millia Islamia University, New Delhi
  8. Manipur University
  9. Maulana Azad National Urdu University
  10. Delhi University (DU)
  11. Mahatma Gandhi Antarrashtriya Hindi Vishwavidyalaya, Maharashtra
  12. Mizoram University
  13. Nagaland University, Lumami
  14. North Eastern Hill University
  15. Pondicherry University
  16. Tezpur University,Assam
  17. University of Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh
  18. University of Hyderabad
  19. Visva-Bharati University, Santiniketan, West Bengal
  20. Jawaharlal Nehru University

Other universities

India has several hundred other public universities, supported by the Government of India and the state governments. Apart from these there are private universities supported by various bodies and societies.

For long list arranged by state see

Universities in Delhi

  • All India Institute of Medical Sciences
  • Ambedkar Institute of Technology
  • Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University
  • Indian Institute of Technology
  • Indira Gandhi National Open University
  • Jamia Hamdard
  • Jamia Millia Islamia
  • Jawaharlal Nehru University
  • TERI University
  • Delhi University
  • School of Planning and Architecture, Delhi
  • National Institute of Fashion Technology, Delhi

Universities in Bihar

  • B. R. Ambedkar Bihar University Muzzafarpur
  • Nalanda Open University Patna
  • Indian Institute of Technology Patna
  • Lalit Narayan Mithila University, Darbhanga
  • Patna University, Patna
  • Indira Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences
  • Kameshwar Singh Darbhanga Sanskrit University
  • Bihar Yoga Bharati, Munger
  • Jaiprakash University, Chapra
  • Bhupendra Narayan Mandal University, Madhepura
  • Rajendra Agricultural University, Samastipur
  • Tilka Manjhi Bhagalpur University, Bhagalpur
  • Veer Kunwar Singh University, Arrah
  • Maulana Mazharul Haque Arabic and Persian University, Patna
  • Magadh University, Bodh Gaya
  • National Institute of Technology, Patna
  • Ramakant Verma University, Aurangabad

Universities in Jharkhand

  • Birla Institute of Technology Mesra
  • Indian School of Mines Dhanbad
  • National Institute of Technology, Jamshedpur
  • Birsa Agricultural University
  • Ranchi University Ranchi
  • Nilamber Pitamber University
  • Sido-Kanhu Murmu University
  • Vinoba Bhave University Hazaribagh
  • Central University of Jharkhand
  • BIT Sindri

Indian Institute of Technologies

  • IIT Kanpur
  • IIT Kharagpur
  • IIT Mumbai
  • IIT Delhi
  • IIT Guwahati
  • IIT Roorkee
  • IIT Chennai
  • IIT Patna
  • IIT Hyderabad
  • IIT Gandhinagar

Polytechnics in India

Higher education reform

The Bologna Process

Administration and finance

During the Financial Year 2011-12, the Central Government of India has allocated Rs 38,957 crores for the Department of School Education and Literacy which is the main department dealing with primary education in India. Within this allocation, major share of Rs 21,000 crores, is for the flagship program 'Sarva Siksha Abhiyan'. However, budgetary allocation of Rs 21,000 crores is considered very low in view of the officially appointed Anil Bordia Committee recommendation of Rs 35,659 for the year 2011-12. This higher allocation was required to implement the recent legislation 'Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009. In recent times, several major announcements were made for developing the poor state of affairs in education sector in India, the most notable ones being the National Common Minimum Programme (NCMP) of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government. The announcements are; (a) To progressively increase expenditure on education to around 6 percent of GDP. (b) To support this increase in expenditure on education, and to increase the quality of education, there would be an imposition of an education cess over all central government taxes. (c) To ensure that no one is denied of education due to economic backwardness and poverty. (d) To make right to education a fundamental right for all children in the age group 6–14 years. (e) To universalize education through its flagship programmes such as Sarva Siksha Abhiyan and Mid Day Meal.

However, even after five years of implementation of NCMP, not much progress has been done on these promises or announcements. The public expenditure on education has actually declined from around 3.23 percent of GDP in 2000–2001 to 2.88 percent in the recent times. As a proportion of total government expenditure, it has declined from around 11.1 percent in 2000–2001 to around 9.98 percent during UPA rule. A policy brief issued by [Network for Social Accountability (NSA)] titled “[NSA Response to Education Sector Interventions in Union Budget: UPA Rule and the Education Sector]” provides significant revelation to this fact. Due to a declining priority of education in the public policy paradigm in India, there has been an exponential growth in the private expenditure on education also. [As per the available information, the private out of pocket expenditure by the working class population for the education of their children in India has increased by around 1150 percent or around 12.5 times over the last decade].

Quality assurance

India's HEIs in the information society

Towards the information society

One of the key drivers towards the information society is the National Knowledge Commission. This is a high-level advisory body to the Prime Minister of India, with the objective of transforming India into a knowledge society. It covers sectors ranging from education to e-governance in the five focus areas of the knowledge paradigm, including education.

Information society strategy

Virtual Campuses in HE

Interesting Virtual Campus Initiatives

Open Universities

Open universities in India are regulated by the Distance Education Council of India (DEC). It is an organization based in New Delhi which maintains the standards, encourages and organizes the activities of Open and Distance learning in India (ODL).

There are 15 Open Universities in India at present, which are mentioned hereunder according to their yearwise establishment:

Year Open University Name and City
1982 Dr. B.R. Ambedkar Open University, Hyderabad
1985 Indira Gandhi National Open University, Delhi - the main open university and the one best known outside India - see also wikipedia entry
1987 Vardhaman Mahaveer Open University, Kota, Rajasthan - see also wikipedia entry
Nalanda Open University, Patna, Bihar
1989 Yashwantrao Chavan Maharashtra Open University, Nasik, Maharastra - see also wikipedia entry
1991 Madhya Pradesh Bhoj Open University, Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh - see also wikipedia entry
1994 Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Open University, Ahmedabad, Gujarat - see also wikipedia entry
1996 Karnataka State Open University, Mysore, Karnataka - see also wikipedia entry
1997 Netaji Subhas Open University, Kolkata, West Bengal - see also wikipedia entry
1998 Uttar Pradesh Rajarshi Tandon Open University, Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh
2002 Tamil Nadu Open University, Chennai, Tamil Nadu - see also wikipedia entry
2005 Pandit Sundarlal Sharma Open University, Raipur, Chhattisgarh
2006 The Global Open University, Nagaland
2007 K K Handique Open University, Guwahati, Assam
Uttranchal Open University, Dehradun, UttraKhand

Source: Slideshare - Open Universities - Yearwise establishment, 2009, by Ramesh C. Sharma.

Indira Gandhi National Open University

Since its establishment in 1985, the Indira Gandhi National Open University has contributed significantly to the development of higher education in the country through the Open and Distance Learning (ODL) mode. The 'People's University' follows a learner-centric approach and has successfully adopted a policy of openness and flexibility in entry qualifications, time taken for completion of a programme, and place of study. The University, at present, offers 338 programmes of study through over 3,500 courses to a cumulative student strength of over 30 lakh students. The programmes are offered by the University at the following levels: doctorate; masters and bachelors degree programmes; post-graduate and under-graduate diplomas; and certificates.

Private Sector Initiatives

Various Privately owned Non Profit's have forayed into Distance and Open Learning over the past decade. Very few of these have succeeded in extending these initiatives over the Virtual Mode. Such few notable exceptions are below.

University18 : A Public Private Partnership initiative University18, in partnership with the State Universities such as Karnataka State Open University and more recently Uttrakhand Open University, has made substantial progress, delivering MBA Programs in a Virtual Learning Environment to Indian students all over the world. See also [1] .

Interesting Programmes

Title Multimodal Digital Distance Education for IT & other Critical Technologies
Agency Jadavpur University
Objectives To evolve appropriate Courseware Engg. methodologies for making available quality coursewares at reasonable cost. Field experiments with different modes of Digital Distances Education modes.
  • PG Courses in 6-semester M.Tech. IT (Courseware Engineering) has been designed, developed and offered through Multimodal Digital distances Education format since Jan. 2005
  • 6 semester ME in Software Engineering course in Multimodal Digital distances Education format (Eleven module have been designed, developed)
  • 4 semester M.Tech. IT (Courseware Engineering) course has been designed, developed and offered through face-to-face mode since July 2004
  • 4 semester PG Diploma course on Multimedia and Web Technology has been designed, developed and offered through Multimodal Digital distances Education format since Jan. 2005

Title Training of Trainers in E-learning
Agency DOEACC ( Aurangabad & Kolkata)
Objectives To introduce fundamentals of E-learning , H/w and S/w and train teachers for implementing e-learning for the better educational methodologies.
  • 240 teachers trained (120 from each centre) in use of e-learning in education
  • Trained teachers will be able to locate and use/ reuse the course contents and create their own content in e-learning in their area of specialization and they will act as master trainer for their parent Institute.
  • Create multiplier effect to use ICT technologies and create awareness about the usage of information tools, blending it with traditional skills to enhance quality and productivity in education

Title Enhancing Competency of IT teachers & Industry Professionals
Agency DK. Re. SIT, IIT, Mumbai
Objectives To enhance quality of services in the remote / VSAT reception to enhance competency of IT Teachers & Industry Professionals

The Distance Education programme (DEP) has so far conducted 43 semester long courses, 14 short term courses and numerous guest lectures which have benefited over 6000 participants. The project implementation has led to the following:

  • Improvement in the quality of visuals (sharpness, contrast, resolution) as well as quality of sound (audio) received has been confirmed by reports from and visits to the various remote centers.
  • This has greatly contributed to the acceptability of programs both the live transmission as well as recorded version rebroadcast for students on demand.
  • Currently, 09 organizations have requested to avail of this facility which include Engineering Colleges as well as IT Industries.
  • All India Institute of Speech and Hearing at Mysore under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has requested the Project Investigator to recommend the details of a similar set up for their use since there is shortage of trained teachers in this area.
  • Many similar organizations which have limited supply of experts, can now make available their knowledge to their geographically dispersed regional centers.

Title Development of content delivery tools to enhance the existing experimental education technology services.
Agency IIT , Kanpur
Objectives To augment an existing IT based education support system based on existing web tech to a much better and manageable system
  • Developed an open source free Learning Management System (LMS) named as Brihaspati.
  • The project has been registered with for using their high-speed server for distribution of code worldwide. Also registered with and to give better visibility.
  • For more awareness, IIT, Kanpur conducted workshops/ training programmes. A t present there are 72 Institutes/ organizations either have shown interest or have been using this software. Total download so far from is 2288. In the current semester approx. 4500 (students and instructors) users are expected to use one single installation for about 350 course accounts. Total downloads so far is 1977.
  • Based on the feedback received from its users many modifications have been done in the software in order to improve the performance

Re.ViCa Case-study


Lessons learnt

  • Is there sometimes more chance of innovation from provincial initiatives than from national?


  1. A study on Possibilities Of Virtual Campus For Distance Learners of Diploma Engineering Programmes In India - see
  2. National Knowledge Commission, Report to the Nation 2006-2009, Full Report - see
  3. National Knowledge Commission, Report to the Nation 2006-2009, Baseline (Annexure 1) - see

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