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HindustanTimes Mon,21 Apr 2014

PM's research blueprint opposed

Charu Sudan Kasturi, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, February 27, 2013
First Published: 23:27 IST(27/2/2013) | Last Updated: 01:45 IST(28/2/2013)

The Prime Minister's plan to propel India's research output by setting up 14 new universities dedicated to innovations has come up against a wall of criticism.

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A key Parliamentary panel, government ministries and the Planning Commission voiced concerns that it may end up hurting the country's higher education ambitions. 

The parliamentary standing committee on HRD, headed by Congress MP Oscar Fernandes slammed the government in a report.

It said the human resource development (HRD) ministry had not carried out adequate consultations with important stakeholders before drafting the Universities for Research and Innovation Bill, 2012. 

Only Parliament or state legislatures can establish universities - even private ones - at present.

But under the innovation university bill, the 14 new varsities can be set up through memorandums of agreement (MoAs) - bringing them outside the scrutiny of all legislative authorities. They will also not have to adhere to key regulations binding on other universities.

The bodies sceptical of the bill have also raised concerns that creating different rules for the new breed of varsities may adversely affect the morale of current universities.

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