Published On: Tue, Nov 22nd, 2011

Good Luck – Mr. Sibal…

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Kapil Sibal, Union MInister for HRD

We at EducationInsight.in want to wish our Union Minister of Human Resource Development (HRD), Kapil Sibal, Good Luck.  And in fact all of us who are related to education should wish him luck.

Because in the ongoing winter session of Parliament the honourable minister needs to ensure passage of several critical bills related to higher education.  The country’s education reform agenda especially Higher Education is getting significantly affected by the non passage of these bills. At the end of the monsoon session of parliament an unlucky 13 HRD ministry Bills were pending at various stages. And as several of these bills have been pending for a long time, he needs all the luck to get them through the parliament  before they can be enacted.

Status of 13 pending HRD Bills

Passed by Lok Sabha; pending in Rajya Sabha

  • Educational Tribunals Bill 2010
  • Indian Institute of Information Technology, Kancheepuram Bill 2011
  • Institutes of Technology Amendment Bill 2010
  • National Institutes of Technology Amendment Bill 2010

Introduced / pending

  • RTE Amendment Bill 2010
  • Central Educational Institutes Amendment Bill 2010
  • Copyright Amendment Bill 2010

To be introduced

  • Foreign Educational Institutes Bill 2010
  • Prohibition of Unfair Practices Bill 2010
  • National Accreditation Regulatory Authority Bill 2010
  • National Council for Higher Education and Research Bill 2010
  • Universities of Innovation Bill 2010

Introduced this session

  • National Academic Depository Bill

Passed by both Houses in Monsoon Session

    • NCTE Amendment Bill 2010

 Among the most critical bills which would be top priority for the govt. are the Institutes of Technology Amendment Bill 2010 and National Institutes of Technology (NIT) amendment Bill 2010 to strengthen these premier technical institutions and grant national status to five Indian Institutes of Science Education and Research (IISER) at Mohali, Kolkata, Bhopal, Pune and Thiruvananthapuram to enable them to confer degrees. If this bill is not passed then IISERs can’t award degrees as they are not governed by an Act of Parliament. This in turn would students of IISERs Kolkata and Pune which started functioning in 2006 won’t be awarded degrees putting their future in danger.

The other bills which are not as time critical but very important and pending include some very significant ones including the Bill to set up educational tribunals for out-of-court redress of educational disputes; another to amend ; another to amend the RTE Act to include disabled children in the definition of the disadvantaged.

In the 26-day monsoon session, only one Bill — The National Council for Teacher Education Amendment 2010 (of the seven listed for consideration) — was passed by both the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha. This Bill empowers the NCTE to lay down uniform teachers’ qualifications for schools across India in the wake of the RTE Act.

That apart, even the most urgent Bill replacing ordinance listed in this session — The Indian Institute of Information Technology Kancheepuram Bill 2011 (to accord national importance to this institute and recognise degrees awarded to its first batch which enrolled in 2007) — could not be passed as the Upper House failed to take it up after the LS cleared it on August 25.

Since the Bill remains pending, the ordinance may lapse, forcing the HRD Ministry to find new way to safeguard students’ interests. Sadly, the Bill got stuck in the RS after Congress’ JD Seelam objected to the absence of a quota policy for faculty in institutes of national importance.

HRD Minister Kapil Sibal’s explanation that reservations existed only for students failed to calm frayed tempers of socialists, who quickly jumped on to the quota bandwagon and junked the Bill.

A similar fate awaited the Educational Tribunals Bill 2010 which the LS had passed on August 27 last year. Even this Bill had been thwarted in the RS by Sibal’s colleague Keshav Rao, who had wanted Sibal to honour parliamentary committee recommendations. A year on, the Rajya Sabha failed to take up the legislation even though the ministry had incorporated some parliamentary panel suggestions.