Direct Education Ministry to withdraw memorandum: Mamata writes to PM Modi
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday wrote a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi urging him to direct the Ministry of Education to immediately withdraw its revised guidelines which stipulated state-aided universities to get prior consent from the ministry for holding global conferences.
Publicly-funded universities will have to get the prior consent of the ministry if they want to hold online global conferences on issues pertaining to the security of the country or matters directly "related to Indias internal matters", the ministry said on January 15.
Banerjee said the revised guidelines have put several restrictions in respect of holding online/virtual international conferences/seminars/training even for state- aided universities. She also alleged that state governments were not consulted before the issuance of the memorandum.
In the letter to PM Modi, Banerjee wrote, "Our universities must enjoy the highest possible degree of self- governance and freedom.
"Knowledge is neither created by nor belongs to any single country and community. Reasonable regulations and restrictions are understandable. However, the restrictions imposed by the office memorandum under reference, further highlights the intention of the government of India towards centralisation of higher education system in our country."
Highlighting that digital platforms have become a boon for teachers and students in rural areas, small towns and cities, Banerjee said, "It will not be out of place to mention that education is in the Concurrent list of Constitution and any non-consultation by the government of India with the state governments before issuing any such instructions to the educational institutions will be against the spirit of the federal structure."
Any such communication will only be viewed as an example of "contempt of constitutional powers of the states", Banerjee said.
The state governments are duly empowered under law to deal with any act committed by any educational institution which violates any law or is contrary to the interest of national security, Banejree said in her letter.