4 years on, Modi govt yet to finalise education policy

Last year in June, the government appointed eminent space scientist K Kasturirangan to head a nine-member committee for preparing a final draft of the policy with a deadline to complete the task by December 2017.

Three crucial policy documents on education, nutrition and tourism are not yet ready as the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government begins its final year before the General Elections.

Even if the policy documents are readied this year, official sources say, there would be barely any time for the administration to implement them.

While the human resource development (HRD) ministry, then under Smriti Irani, began formulation of a new national education policy in January 2015, the culture ministry followed the suit embarked on formulating a new national policy for tourism later in the same year.

The women and child development (WCD) ministry later came up with a draft of a national nutrition policy in 2016, seeking public comments.

The government sources said while the WCD ministry's policy document along with the feedback that it received from various stakeholders is pending for the clearance of the Prime Minister's Office (PMO), the proposed national tourism policy is also gathering dust in the government files.

Union minister Mahesh Sharma, who remained at the helm of affairs of the Tourism Ministry till September last year, had assured of unveiling a new tourism policy by May 15, 2015.

Ironically, the tourism ministry could not meet its own deadline. “Efforts are on to give it a final shape,” an official said.

The proposed national education policy of the HRD ministry has also gone through several twists and turns so far.

A committee under former cabinet secretary TSR Subramanian formulated a final draft of the policy and submitted to the HRD ministry in May 2016. Irani, however, rejected the panel's report following a tiff with Subramanian over the leaking of the contents of the draft policy before her approval.

The ministry revised the committee's report and declared it as “some inputs” for the proposed new education policy after the original report drew flak from the students, teachers and the Opposition parties over some of its recommendations which included a suggestion to “abjure” students politics on the university campuses.

Last year in June, the government appointed eminent space scientist K Kasturirangan to head a nine-member committee for preparing a final draft of the policy with a deadline to complete the task by December 2017.

The committee has so far been given two consecutive extensions to its term.

“The committee's term has been extended on request of the members as they wanted to hold more consultation with the stakeholders and experts,” an HRD ministry official said.

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