Two weeks after private Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs) across the state shut down over the issue of government aid, there is hope for its students as ruling BJP chief Raosaheb Danve and institute employees met to resolve the dispute.
On Wednesday, Danve met ITI employees who have been on strike since January 11 demanding government funds for the institutes. “I have arranged a meeting between representatives of ITI employees and the chief minister, so that they can discuss their demands with the government,” said Danve.
”Danve met our representatives who are protesting at Azad Maidan and said that he will have the government consider providing grants to private ITIs on the lines of Karnataka and Gujarat. We are hopeful of a positive outcome,” said Sanjay Boraste, president, Maharashtra state non-governmental ITI principals and employees association.
While many of the 400-odd private ITIs are still closed, around 25-30 institutions that have been designated as exam centres were opened on Thursday, so that examinations could be conducted according to schedule. “We don’t want students to suffer because of our stir,” said Boraste. Around 65,000 students study in these institutes that offer courses in trades like welding, plumbing and fitting.
The employees at private ITIs in the state have been striving for government funding for a long time. They argue that while the state has no qualms providing salary grants to teachers at private colleges, it’s dallying over the issue of funding private ITIs. They point out that the governments in neighbouring Gujarat and Karnataka have already instituted grants for ITIs in their respective states.
At a meeting held at finance ministry in June, it was decided that the government will review the ITI funding models of Gujarat and Karnataka. However, the decision is yet to be implemented. The principals and instructors said managing ITIs without government funding has increasingly become economically unviable, and as a result they have to put up with meagre salaries.
When HT had earlier spoken to Ranjit Patil, minister of state for skill development, he blamed the management of institutes for the situation. Suggesting that institutes have enough money to take care of its employees, he said, “The private ITIs have built huge infrastructure and many of them even charge capitation fee. The salaries they pay to their employees is lower than what they show [on paper].”
A long-standing issue
1996 The BJP-Sena government at the state constituted a committee under director of technical education to look into the issue of funding private ITIs
1997 The committee came out with a report recommending diverting some of the funds from higher education to ITIs
1998 A petition was filed before the Aurangabad bench of the high court after the government failed to act on committee’s recommendation. The government assured the court of its willingness to act on the report.
1999 Congress-NCP combine came to power. The government, in its five-year programme, announced its plan to reduce higher education subsidy and divert the saved revenue towards private ITIs.
2002 While the higher education subsidy was reportedly brought down from 15% to 5%, the private ITIs didn’t receive any grant.
2008 Around 44 out of 203 private ITIs closed down between 2000 and 2008
2009 Education minister Rajesh Tope announced that the ITIs will be granted on the basis of quality of education
2010 The proposal of aiding ITIs came before the cabinet and was rejected by then chief minister Ashok Chavan
2014 Tope, through a letter, assured the principals and employees that he will again look into the matter.
2015 A meeting was held at finance ministry under Sudhir Mungantiwar. It was decided that the government will review the funding models of Gujarat and Karnataka
2016 Aurangabad bench of the High Court asked the government to submit its response to a petition filed by ITI employees before February 4.