Parliament on Wednesday passed a Bill to declare three Schools of Planning and Architecture (SPA) as “institutions of national importance” and establish new such schools. The government said said such schools will contribute to developing ‘smart cities’, announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi earlier.
During the discussion, HRD Minister Smriti Irani said the government plans to forge international tie-ups and will rope in global experts to impart world class education in these institutions. Allaying the apprehensions expressed by some members, she said the existing reservation policy with regard to admission of students and recruitment of faculty will “completely be followed” in the SPAs on the lines of what is being done at the IITs, NITs and IIMs.
With the passage of the Bill, the SPAs located in Delhi, Bhopal and Vijayawada will be able to grant degrees to students. The Bill also has a provision to set up a council that can recommend creation of new SPAs across the country. The Bill found no resistance from the opposition parties.
TMC MP bends under censure threat
Trinamool Congress MP Kalyan Banerjee, who was facing the threat of censure motion in the Lok Sabha for his remarks against Prime Minister Narendra Modi, expressed regret over his statements Wednesday.
“If I have hurt anybody’s sentiments, I express my regrets,” Banerjee said after BJP MPs created uproar over his comments. Banerjee said he was obliging to the “motherly attitude” shown by Speaker Sumitra Mahajan who advised him to express regrets. He contended that his remarks at a public rally in Kolkata last week were “in reaction to the BJP general secretary saying ‘Bhaag Mamata Bhaag’, insulting our leader”. He added: “It was not my intention to insult the PM or show disrespect to Lal Bahadur Shastriji. I respect both of them.” Before Banerjee was persuaded by party colleagues and NCP’s Supriya Sule to express regret, some BJP MPs, including Kirit Somaiya and Kirron Kher, left their seats and demanded an apology from the TMC leader. ENS