Women's varsity bill on govt's priority list

Institution to come up at Sonia's LS constituency

Women's varsity bill on govt's priority list

Passage of a bill to set up the country’s first central university for women in Rae Bareli, Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s Lok Sabha constituency in Uttar Pradesh, came up in the government’s priority list as a Parliamentary Standing Committee cleared the proposal on Friday after suggesting certain modifications in it.

The Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry, which was anxiously waiting for the committee to give its report, is now keen to ensure that the bill is passed in the extended winter session of Parliament.

“We have to get it passed anyhow during this session. It is on our priority list,” said sources in the HRD Ministry, indicating that the Indira Gandhi National University for Women Bill, 2013, may be pushed for passage in Lok Sabha even if the House continues to witness disruption.

There are as many as 13 HRD Ministry bills pending for passage in Parliament for over two years now. Three bills, including the Education Tribunal Bill, have been listed in the legislative agenda for the ongoing session. The Indira Gandhi National University for Women Bill had been introduced in Lok Sabha on August 20 and referred to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on September 18.  

“It is a welcome step that a central university exclusively for women is being proposed to be set up at Rae Bareli. The committee believes that it would give the required impetus to higher education for women in the state,” noted the parliamentary panel, headed by Congress’ Rajya Sabha member Birendra Singh, in its report, tabled in Parliament on Friday.

On the location of the proposed university, the HRD Ministry told the panel that Rae Bareli, “being an educationally backward district, was considered ideally suitable for location as it was the 'karmabhoomi', the political constituency of the first ever woman prime minister of India (Indira Gandhi)”. 

On choosing Uttar Pradesh for the varsity, the ministry maintained that the state had the largest population of women in the country.

“The committee welcomes the objective behind the proposed legislation. The committee hopes that such a university, once established and having become functional, would bring significant improvement in the status of women, especially of the state,” said the panel.

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