New Delhi: With Union human resource development minister Prakash Javadekar seemingly unable to push through the saffron agenda by overhauling the education sector via implementation of the much-awaited National Education Policy, his ministry’s powers are apparently being clipped.
Over the past few weeks, regulatory powers of several subjects like Architecture have been taken away and put under the urban development ministry.
As for polytechnics, it has been given to the skill development ministry. Sources said that the “downgrading” of the HRD ministry has the backing of the RSS.
It was learnt that the “big brother” of the Sangh Parivar had been expressing unhappiness over the “inordinate” delay in implementation of the education policy.
Following the delay, there are rumours in the HRD corridors that Mr Javdekar could return to environment, handing over charge to a “more committed saffronite”.
If these are not enough, speculations are rife that the All-India Council for Technical Education, the regulatory body for technical education, could again be shifted to the skills development ministry.
The ministry officials, however, claimed that the move to take away the power to regulate “technical subjects” has “nothing to do with downgrading HRD ministry”, but was a “part of a larger plan to hand these specialised subjects to appropriate ministries."
Despite this claim, it was learnt that the HRD ministry was opposing the transfer of the AICTE to the skill development ministry, being led by Union minister Rajiv Pratap Rudy. The opinion about these transfers is divided in the ministry.
While a section described these as a “part of a larger plan,” other bureaucrats indicated that such “transfers would gradually shrink the power and ambit of the HRD ministry.”
Sources said the HRD ministry has repeatedly been asked to expedite the final draft of the policy so that the government is able to implement it without any glitch from the 2018-19 academic session and before the 2019 general elections.
The ministry incidentally has also been unable to shortlist candidates to be included in the committee to prepare the draft NEP. Mr Javadekar in November last had announced that the names of the candidates to prepare the draft education policy would be announced at the earliest.
As the debate rages over reported downgrading of the HRD ministry, sources said that Mr Javadekar was delaying the new education policy to avoid any controversy.