THE TRANSFER of schemes related to the funding of polytechnics has hit a roadblock with the HRD Ministry refusing to give up official posts sought by the Ministry of Skill Development (MSD) to handle the additional work.
As first reported by The Indian Express on April 2, the HRD Ministry has been asked by the Cabinet Secretary to transfer four schemes — ‘Setting Up of New Polytechnics In Unserved & Underserved Districts’; ‘Scheme of Community Development Through Polytechnics’; ‘Construction of Women’s Hostels In Polytechnics’ and ‘Upgradation of Polytechnics’ — to the MSD headed by Rajiv Pratap Rudy. While polytechnics are set up by the state governments, the Centre has been assisting them financially through the above schemes covered under the ‘Sub-mission on Polytechnics’ started under the 11th Five Year Plan.
The move, which came less than a month after the HRD lost architecture education to the Urban Development Ministry, has been justified on the grounds that polytechnics will be best served under a ministry that deals directly with the subject.
Both, the HRD Ministry and the MSD, have already held meetings to work out how to implement the decision. The transition involves transfer of files related to the four schemes, transfer of budget and appointment of additional officers to MSD to handle the new work.
The Indian Express has learnt that MSD has sought transfer of three posts from the HRD Ministry, but the latter has not agreed forcing the MSD to approach the Cabinet Secretary for a solution.
“Given the volume of work, we assumed that two section officers and one under secretary at least must be dealing with polytechnics (in the HRD Ministry). So we asked them to transfer these posts to us against which we can have more officers appointed. But the HRD is not in favour,” said an official with MSD, who did not wish to be identified.
There are over 4,000 polytechnics across the country. They help in preparing skilled manpower for the organised, unorganised and service sectors. Generally, polytechnics offer three-year diploma courses in conventional disciplines such as civil, electrical and mechanical engineering. However, over the last two decades, many polytechnics have started offering courses in emerging disciplines such as electronics, computer science and medical lab technology.
This is the third time the HRD Ministry has been made to give up one of its responsibilities after the NDA-II government came to power. In March last year, the government moved copyrights from its ambit to the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP). The decision to take architecture education out of HRD’s control was communicated in the first week of March.