Council okays cluster university bill

Last Updated 14 February 2019, 20:08 IST

The government on Thursday moved a separate bill and got approval of the legislature to it, for setting up cluster universities for utilisation of the funds. The bill has already been passed by the Assembly.

It is caught between the Centre’s mounting pressure to make use of the funds under the RUSA programme and Governor’s prolonged delay in approving the amendment to the Karnataka State Universities Act.

Amidst uproar, the Council cleared the bill which will bunch the three women’s colleges of Bengaluru—Maharani’s Science College for Women, Maharani’s Women’s Arts, Commerce and Management College, VHD Central Institute of Home Science and a college in Mandya as cluster universities, if it gets the assent of the Governor.

Pending with Guv

Sources said the government was under pressure as the time for utilisation of funds under Rashtriya Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan (RUSA) was set to lapse. “The earlier amendment to the Act had provision for cluster universities. But it has been pending with the Governor. Hence, the government decided to introduce separate legislation pertaining to the formation of cluster universities,” a senior official clarified.

A senior BJP leader said the government, more than the university, had set its eyes on the funds.

Minister allays fears

“A cluster university will require an infrastructure for which funds can be utilised and it will also help those in power to receive kickbacks from contractors. This is being done only with an intention of benefiting the contractors, but not students or the education system. According to my information, the government has already submitted utilisation certificate and is only regularising the spending by bringing in a bill,” the MLC said.

Allaying the fears of the members, Higher Education Minister G T Devegowda told DH that the bill would enable them to make use of the funds given by the Centre.

“We have already drawn out plans and identified agencies to assign the work. But the earlier amendment to the same Act is still pending before the Governor. If we do not spend the amount, it will go back to the Centre. To pave the way for setting up cluster universities as suggested under RUSA programme, we have brought this amendment. We hope that the governor will approve it,” he said.

(Published 14 February 2019, 18:50 IST)

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