Sibal meets MPs to push educational reforms
Hoping that Anna Hazare’s campaign for a Lokpal Bill will not stall the winter session of Parliament, HRD minister Kapil Sibal today started an exercise to garner political support for getting Parliament’s approval to the ministry’s bills. Chetan Chauhan reports.delhi Updated: Oct 21, 2011 00:11 IST
Hoping that Anna Hazare’s campaign for a Lokpal Bill will not stall the winter session of Parliament, HRD minister Kapil Sibal on Thursday started an exercise to garner political support for getting Parliament’s approval to the ministry’s bills.
Over a dozen bills of the HRD ministry covering different aspects of higher education are pending in Parliament and the ministers intend to introduce two new bills in the winter session expected to start from November end.
Not just the opposition, even the ruling party members had opposed some of these bills and Sibal had failed to convince them in the house.
Congress MP JD Seelam objected to absence of a quota policy for faculty in institutes of national importance while discussion on Indian Institute of Information Technology Kancheepuram Bill 2011. Seelam got the support of opposition parties on the issue.
Another Congress MP Kesav Rao complained that the ministry had failed to fully incorporate the suggestions on the Parliamentary standing committee on the bill to set up educational tribunals.
To avoid similar resistance when the Parliament considers these bills in winter session, Sibal had a meeting with of MPs of Congress and other UPA allies to seek their views on these bills. "It was primarily a feedback exercise with an attempt to brief them about importance of these legislations," a senior government official said.
An MP, who participated at the meeting but was not willing to be quoted, termed the meeting very informative where they were told about different aspects of these pending bills.
"Delay in getting the bill passed was resulting in setback in education reforms," the MP said and added that most MPs agreed the need to get the bills passed. Some MPs made suggestions on the bills which the ministry would be considering.
It was the first of the series of meetings Sibal intends to hold with MPs from other political parties on education reforms. Ministry sources said the minister would be holding a meeting with MPs from opposition parties.
What concerns the minister is not just pending bills. Two new important legislations — the National Council for Higher Education and Research Bill, 2011 and the Universities for Innovation Bill, 2011 — are to be introduced in Parliament, for which Sibal will require political support.