A DAY after Smriti Irani was removed as HRD Minister, the Congress said on Wednesday that she may have been shunted out because the “pace of saffronisation” in the education sector was “not to the satisfaction” of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The party also accused the BJP government of indulging in “fascisisation” of education.
“In the past two years, the NDA government has systematically attempted to subvert and dismantle the public education system of this country which has been assiduously built over the last 67 years. The greatest indicator of this is the budgetary allocation. The UPA government, during its 10 years, raised the budgetary allocation of the HRD ministry from Rs 11,000 crore to Rs 82,000 crore… Between 2014 and 2016, the education budget of India has actually come down by Rs 10,000 crore,” said Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari.
He said the budgetary allocation of the UGC too was slashed by 55 per cent, bringing it down to Rs 4,286 crore from Rs 9,315 crore.
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“What is even more startling is the frontal assault mounted by the HRD ministry on the autonomy of our public universities. The UGC, in fact, tried to take away from the public universities the right to even decide their own syllabus… Besides, there is blatant interference by the RSS in the education sector of the country,” he said.
“Six vice-chancellors were summoned by RSS functionaries for a review of the education system in Chhattisgarh…What locus standi does the RSS have to call VCs of public universities and review the functioning of the education system in Chhattisgarh. This is not saffronisation of education. This is far more sinister. It is the ‘fascisisation’ of education,” he added.
Asked why Irani was shunted out if, Tewari said, “Maybe the pace of saffronisation was not to the satisfaction of the PM. And therefore, you have an incumbent who will possibly accelerate that pace.”