First, there is an ecosystem of State universities, state-supported or Church-administered private institutions, a legacy of the British India. These institutions are designed to educate civil servants, evolving from but still loosely based around the colonial ideas and models of education: patriarchal, patronising and aimed at professions. This context is passé, but the institutional form proved durable, propped up by the Indian preference of continuity over disruption.
Second, there is an overlapping ecosystem of Central technical institutions, funded by the federal rather than state governments, built around educating technocrats to occupy the 'commanding heights of the economy': A hangover from India's aspirations to build a planned economy. Indeed, this experiment has failed and the system has become a conduit of taxpayer funded brain-drain. But these institutions remain at the core of India's educational imagination - every kid aspire to get in for an easy access to America - though the Indian state has irretrievably changed.
And, finally, this system is supplemented by more recent additions of a large number of private, state-sanctioned, technical institutions, tied closely with the expansion of global service economy in India, since the 1980s. This is a third layer, still influenced by the previous models but without the aspirations of the second wave, still closely tied to Western ideas of development.