Maharani's College may lose its cluster university tag

Maharani's College for Arts, Home Science, Commerce and Management faces the threat of losing the Maharani Cluster University tag as the government is yet to come up with guidelines even 15 months after the Centre released its share of funds.

The UGC, in its recent video conferencing with Jawaid Akhtar, principal secretary, Department of Higher Education and Prof Ravindra Reshme, special officer, Maharani Cluster University, expressed displeasure over the delay in framing guidelines. The UGC top brass blamed authorities for not finalising any scheme though it has been a year since the Centre released funds.

A committee headed by the commissioner, Collegiate Education Department, PWD chief architect, PWD chief engineer and DC, Bengaluru Urban was formed to begin construction of new buildings. The committee submitted a report on basic amenities needed for the campus. However, the government is yet to approve the report, said sources.

National Knowledge Commission chairman Sam Pitroda had recommended to the Centre to form around 1,500 medium and large scale universities when Manmohan Singh was prime minister.

The Centre had announced the establishment of eight cluster universities in Karnataka, Jammu & Kashmir, Odisha and Himachal Pradesh. While three states framed guidelines and appointed vice-chancellors, Karnataka is yet to begin the process.

The state government had submitted a proposal to the human resources development ministry requesting the cluster university status to the city's iconic and oldest women-only institution — Maharani's College. The Centre had granted permission on December 1, 2015

The cluster university status means Maharani University will manage its many institutions — colleges for arts, home science, management and commerce.

Under the financial sharing scheme of 65:35 ratio with the state, the Centre had granted Rs 55 crore

The Centre released its share of Rs 16.5 crore by 2016 June-end while the state government released Rs 11 crore in March 2017. A total of Rs 27.5 crore is left unutilised in a bank account.

Prof Reshme told DH that they have informed the state government about the need to have a separate Act for the cluster university.

The department has assigned construction of new buildings to Rail India Technical and Economic Service (RITES).

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