I&B minister Venkaiah Naidu took a dig at the earlier Congress government for ruining the economy, even as the principal Opposition party accused the NDA government of “systematically attempting to subvert and dismantle the public education system” of the country.
Soon after taking charge, Naidu said, “For the past two years, we had the daunting task of repairing the economy which was left in a bad condition.” He also hinted at the instability and lack of leadership in previous governments, saying, “After 30 years, we now have a stable government with an able leader.”
The Congress, at an earlier press conference, chose to target the government over the reduction of funds in the education sector.
“The greatest indicator of this is budgetary allocation. The UPA government increased the budget of HRD ministry from `11,000 crore to `82,000 crore and the Modi government rolled it back to `69,000 crore when it came to power. Last year, the allocation was marginally increased to `72,394 crore,” Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari said.
He said the budget of the University Grants Commission was reduced by 55%. “Such a huge slash is absolutely unprecedented. What is scarier is the frontal assault by HRD ministry on autonomy of public universities. The UGC has now even taken away from public universities the right to frame their own syllabi.”
Tewari also questioned the RSS for its reported move to call the vice-chancellors and review the functioning of education system in different states as happened in Chhattisgarh. “This is not saffronisation of education... This is the fascistisation of education,” he alleged.
Naidu, meanwhile, spoke about the smooth flow of information. “We need to ensure a proper flow of unadulterated news from the government, which is a reservoir of information,” he said. Naidu avoided any controversial issue but said as a minister, his challenge will be to “perform, reform, transform and inform”.