Parliament today passed a bill for establishing the prestigious National Institute of Technology (NIT) in Andhra Pradesh, on a day MPs of the ruling TDP from the state staged a protest to demand special category status.
The bill aims at establishing the NIT in Andhra Pradesh as an institute of national importance.
Replying to a debate on the Bill, HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar assured the House that there would be no dearth of funds for establishing the NIT in Andhra Pradesh.
"It is really a fulfilment (of promise)," he said against the backdrop of demands by TDP, an ally of ruling NDA, and some other parties for grant of special category status to Andhra Pradesh.
"Let me remind my good friend Jairam Ramesh that it is not after two years we are starting, the second batch is already there. So the institute was formed but the bill, we are passing today," Javadekar said.
"So the action has already started and as far as funding is concerned there will be no dearth of funding," he added.
Stating that Rs 40 crore has been provided in the Budget for this NIT in AP as token, he said the DPR (detailed project report) would be ready in two months.
"As soon it is there, the funds will be immediatly released and granted. So there will be no dearth of funding let me tell you," the minister said.
On concern raised by some members over inadequate number of faculties, Javadekar said the government is making efforts to fill vacancies in all top institutes like IITs and NITs.
"It is true that in even in country's premier institutes there is no 100 per cent faculty that is the truth and its a national mission...Still in NITs 75 per cent faculty is working and rest 25 per cent is not there.
"We are taking as a drive in IITs, NITs and all top institutes even in primary schools. Vacancy is a big problem and we should try to get trained faculties. There is good tendency that people want to become teachers aand we will also come with a concrete plan to so as to have trained faculty," Javadekar said.
The minister informed the House that funding for NITs is increasing every year from Rs 2,100 crore in 2013-14 to Rs 2,645 crore this year.
"So its rising and I want to ensure that there will be no dearth of funds as far as projects, teaching, research is concerned.
"For all top isntitutes there is requirement of large amount of funding. In natural course of action you cant provide it..So we are working on a new initiative FM has already announed in the Budget," Javadekar said.
Earlier, moving the Bill, the HRD Minister said the
purpose is to fulfill a promise made to the people of Andhra Pradesh by establishing a NIT in the state.
Jairam Ramesh of Congress said the idea of setting up the NIT in Andhra Pradesh is under the 13th schedule of Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act 2014 and this government is doing "nobody a favour".
Giving details, Javadekar said 140 acres of land has already been allotted for the institute and academic session has already commenced, with 900 students studying there.
Javadekar said the governemnt has out with a scheme IIT Pal to help students prepare for JEE.
"We have come out with IIT Pal where students who want to appear for JEE will be provided free online lessons and material so this is new initiative we are coming with," he said.
As far as SCs and STs are concerned, the perception that they cannot compete is changing.
"The scene has tremendously changed and this is due to 70 years of affirmative action in the education field. Now SCs and other quotas are not empty. There are no vacancies. It is a good scenario coming up," Javadekar said.
During the discussion, Vijay Sai Reddy (YSR Congress) referred to the lack of faculty in the premier institutes.
He said the student-teacher ration in these institutes stands at 1/23 whereas the stipulated ration is 1/12.
Terming the number of NITs in the country insufficiant, he asked the government to open NITs in other parts of the country as well in addition to the one being opened in Andhra Pradesh, he added.
"Around 12 lakh students appear for the exams for IITs and NITs every year. Only 28,000 students are taken in these institutes. Therefore, it is neccessary to establish more such institutes and make education more standardised," Reddy said.
Supporting the bill, Anil Desai (Shiv Sena) urged the minister to look into the exorbitant fees charged by the various coaching centres for the preparation of Joint Entrance Examination (JEE).
Congress member Shantaram Naik referred to a spate of controversies related to HRD ministry that occurred when Smriti Irani, who is now the Textiles minister, held the HRD portfolio.
Referring to Irani, who was present in the House, Naik said, "you could have given a soothing hand, but that did not happen."
Naik also raised the issue of land for educational institutions and said the state government should be given the control of the land.
Shwait Malik (BJP) lauded the move to set up a new technology institute.
C P Narayanan (CPI M) also supported it while raising issues related to the difficulties faced by students from socially and educationally backward sections to get enrolled in premier institutions.
Veer Singh (BSP) attracted the minister's attention towards shortage of faculty, brain drain and also emphasised that fellowships granted to SC students should be provided on time.