Online assessment mess: Govt mulls filing FIR against firm, former Mumbai university VC
The state has told the Legislative Assembly that action will be initiated once the committee investigating the issue submitted its reportmumbai Updated: Dec 14, 2017 16:56 IST
The Maharashtra government on Thursday hinted at taking action against former Mumbai University (MU) vice-chancellor Sanjay Deshmukh and filing an FIR against the firm responsible for implementing the varsity’s Online Marking System (OMS) for evaluating answer sheets.
In response to questions raised by members of the treasury and Opposition, the state government told the Legislative Assembly that the implementing firm was found responsible and that action would be initiated once the three-member committee investigating the goof-up submitted its report.
The Opposition demanded that a First Information Report (FIR) be filed against the agency and then vice-chancellor. Leader of Opposition Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil and Nationalist Congress Party leader Ajit Pawar said criminal action should be taken against the VC as he is responsible for the mess that has affected lakhs of students.
Ravindra Waikar, minister of state for higher education, told the lower house: “Even the MU issued a work order to it [the agency] without entering into an agreement, and it is a serious lapse on its part. The firm and MU officials are responsible for the goof-up, and an FIR will be lodged against them once the report is submitted.”
Pawar also wanted to know why Waikar was not being held responsible and sacked for the fiasco. The conditions laid down in the tender should be tweaked so that heads of companies can be held responsible in these kind of situations, the senior NCP leader suggested.
Waikar explained that the MU had awarded the contract to Bengaluru-based information technology firm Merit Trac Services Pvt. Ltd. as its quote was lower than those of three other firms.The government decided to put in place an OMS on the basis of a report by the Rajesh Agarwal committee in 2013, he added.
The university adopted the OMS for the first time this year, hoping to flush out mismanagement and make it transparent. However, lack of preparations and infrastructure led to major delays as well as errors in assessment and, consequently, the declaration of results.
When Congress MLA Nitesh Rane asked whether the government planned to revert to offline assessments, Waikar said the government was keeping all options open, but that the decision to implement the OMS was taken to ensure transparency and speedy assessments.