The World Bank has signed an agreement with the government to provide USD 201.50 million loan for quality engineering education across several states in India.

The loan agreement is part of the Technical Education Quality Improvement Project (TEQIP III), which is the third phase of a 15-20 year programme that started in 2002.

TEQIP III has supported 250 engineering institutes, including NIT Surathkal, College of Engineering Pune, Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University Hyderabad and BIT Mesra.

"It has made a considerable impact on the quality of education by implementing institutional and policy reforms by focusing on institutional autonomy and accountability," World Bank said in a release.

"The focus of the project is to strengthen engineering education in India's low-income, hill states and states of the North East." 

TEQIP III will support affiliating technical universities for the first time, multiplying benefits to all affiliated colleges and not just those being supported individually.

The Washington-based funding agency has estimated that nearly 30 lakh under-graduates and post-graduates will benefit from it.

Some 30 per cent of this will likely be females and 20 per cent from scheduled castes and tribes, the World Bank said.

"It will also scale up post-graduate education, research, development and innovation at these institutions," it added.

The agreement was inked between Raj Kumar, Joint Secretary, Finance Ministry, and Junaid Ahmad, Country Director, World Bank India.

In the latest phase, TEQIP will impart skill training to labour market entrants more equitably across the country by focusing on states with under-performing engineering education set-up.

"The focus on strengthening engineering education and research under TEQIP III will help prospective labour market entrants acquire the skills needed to produce a world-class technical workforce," said Ahmad.

This project will help India meet its growing demand for highly qualified engineers, he said.

Significant efforts will be devoted to monitoring and evaluation to ensure the investments result in better performance of the selected institutions, the World Bank said.

The loan with 25 years of maturity with a 5-year grace period comes from World Bank concessionary arm International Development Association (IDA).