Notice the tilt? Who's got the upper hand?
Most newspapers point out that it would cost the central government just about 8000 crores to get the infrastructure in place to increase student capacity in the existing centrally funded colleges to appease all sections of society.
And all this money is going back to the same centrally funded colleges in the same states.
Has Arjun ever considered reservation for the backward states? No. No. No. no no no
Reserve some time and read a little...
Even as the Central Government spearheads a policy for higher education tethered to reservations for an equitable India, what is shocking is the HRD Ministry's consistent negligence in allocating funds for higher education and for technical institutions to certain states since independence.
Digambra Patra (Department of Physics, Waseda University, Tokyo), a Japanese scientist of Indian origin, and professor Chitta Baral (Arizona University), who have analysed in detail the Union Government funding pattern, said states like Orissa, Bihar, Rajasthan
Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Kerala have been kept in the realm of backwardness by the HRD Ministry headed by Arjun Singh.
``What is surprising is the Central Government spending per person in higher education (we call it HRD-National Highway) is 43.52 times higher in Delhi, 25.9 1times higher in Uttaranchal,19 times in Assam, 18.3 times in HP and 6.9 times in West Bengal as compared to Orissa,'' Patra and Baral said.(See box)
``Such imbalance is detrimental to these states because the most important resource of a state is its human resource but the Central Government expenditure for national higher and technical education per person in some states happens to be much lower,'' the duo said.
``The Prime Minister talks of a vision of an equitable India, announcing new Rs 500-crore IISERs (Indian Institute of Science Education and Research) at Pune, Kolkata and Punjab whereas the National Institute of Sciences at Bhubaneswar was shifted to another location,'' they said.
``We have found that since Independence, states like Orissa and Rajasthan do not have any national institutes like IIT, IIM, IIIT, ISI whereas states like UP, West Bengal and Maharashtra have many such institutes and continue to get new ones. (We have ignored the REC-renamed as NIT since they are present in most of the major states),'' Patra and Baral said.
``Though we wrote to various people, including the Prime Minister, Sonia Gandhi, the Planning Commission and the National Advisory Council, we did not receive any response. The budget for 2006-2007, instead of addressing the inequity, has made it worse. The Central Government has not invested anything in the states that come at the bottom of the HRD list such as Orissa, Rajasthan and Bihar making them even more backward,'' Chitta Baral said.
(For more details check out http://equitableindia.org)
What's happening in Kerala.
The National IMA has called for a nationwide strike to protest against 27 percent reservation for OBCs in centrally-funded higher education institutes but the Kerala state IMA has decided not to join the stir. The reason is interesting because the five post-graduate medical colleges are not centrally funded and the OBC reservation is not applicable to these colleges in Kerala. (Sri Chitra Thirunal Medical Institute,Trivandrum is centrally funded.)
First published by The New Indian Express. Changes have been made.