NEW DELHI, JULY 30: Cautioning academic institutions on the possibilities of campus issues turning into political controversies ahead of 2019 General Elections, Union HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar has asked universities to remain sensitive towards students and teacher issues and settle them within the campuses itself. He also cautioned institutions against misuse of funds saying that “the ministry is planning to monitor them on regular basis”.
There have been cases of peaceful protest turning into violent ones and even trivial issues making national headlines since the Narendra Modi-led government came to power in 2014. Some of the major controversies include rage over molestation of female students in Banaras Hindu University, Jinnah portrait issue at the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU), tussle between the administration and students at the Jawaharlal Nehru University(JNU), Rohit Vermula’s death becoming a major issue at Hyderabad University. MHRD had to intervene in some of the cases to get them sorted.
HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar said, “Forces will try to create issues, even non issue will become issues, you have to be extra cautious to sense them and settle them at the earliest so that it does not flare up and reach here.”
Speaking at the Three-Day VCs’ Conference on ‘Research & Innovation in Higher Education’, the minister also highlighted the need to find administrative ways to resolve campus issues at universities. “There should also be accountability on how institutions use funds to stop unnecessary spend like creating bunkers, 140 room guest house, eight-floor library complex,” he said.
The minister said that the present VCs, Directors are not responsible for it, but they should not carry such any such legacy. “We are setting up processes in place, Instead of financial matters coming directly to Board of Governors (BoG) directly, it has to go through the finance committee where a representative of Ministry need to be present. This will ensure that due diligence is followed before any crucial decision is taken on issues with financial implications.”
He added that the Ministry has decided that utilisation of funds allocated to universities will be monitored on regular basis. Javadekar said, “if it will give 100 Crore to an institution, then they will have to tell us how they plan to utilise that funding and we will check whether they are doing the same thing or not with that funding.”