March 3, 2020 6:56:00 pm
Maharashtra Assembly Speaker Nana Patole on Tuesday told state Higher and Technical Education Minister Uday Samant to ensure that the autonomy of universities is protected and there is no interference in their day-to-day affairs.
The chair’s comments came after BJP MLA Ashish Shelar alleged that Samant’s OSD (officer on special duty) had written to vice-chancellors of universities seeking some information, which amounted to violation of their autonomy.
Letters from the OSD to university vice-chancellors amounted to violation of their autonomy and interference in their day-to-day affairs, Shelar claimed.
The BJP leader raised the issue in the Assembly through an adjournment notice.
While Patole rejected the notice, he allowed Shelar to speak, stating that the issue was important.
Universities are autonomous and come under the governor’s jurisdiction, the BJP MLA said. “Such interference is a cause for concern since it violates the jurisdiction,” he added.
Patole said the minister should ensure such things do not happen.
Speaking to reporters outside the Assembly, Samant said the government is working towards improving facilities for students at universities in the state.
The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) seeks reports regarding funds for universities and budgetary provisions to be made, he said.
The letters were sent from his office to vice-chancellors to collect a comprehensive information from universities, Samant said.
Citing an example, the minister said the government had allocated Rs one crore for Elphistone College (in Mumbai) last year, but it is yet to get details from the college about how the funds were utilised.
Samant said information was sought from all universities, as the budget session is on and he needed to respond to questions from members of the Legislature.
The Centre protects the autonomy of universities but the government has financial control over them and information was sought only in that regard, he clarified.
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