New law on its way, private university Bill gets spiked

The proposed Maharashtra Public Universities (MPU) Act 2011 for governing public universities in the state would come into effect by June. Higher and Technical Education Minister Rajesh Tope on Thursday said the Act would be framed by the government notwithstanding any opposition from a section of stakeholders.

A committee led by Dr Arun Nigvekar has proposed the draft MPU Act 2011 for a law to govern functioning of non-agricultural public varsities in Maharashtra by replacing the Maharashtra Universities Act, 1994.

Reacting to a Newsline query on the status of the report submitted by the Kumud Bansal panel, which has recommended measures based on a range of reforms suggested in higher education by three high-level committees including the Nigvekar committee, Tope said all the proposed reforms revolve around the MPU Act and therefore it was obligatory for the government to introduce it on priority.

"We have worked out a time-bound programme to ensure the Act comes into force by June. The draft bill has recently been sent to the Planning and Finance department for approval. It would be placed before the state cabinet by March for the final nod and the law will be enacted by due process before June," he said.

To a query on the formidable opposition to replacing the Maharashtra Universities Act from a section of stakeholders, including management of educational institutes, Tope said the new Act would come into effect overcoming resistance of stakeholders. "Resistance to any change is bound to happen," he said.

Tope said creation of Maharashtra State Commission for Higher Education and Development (MAHED) as per the MPU Act 2011 to serve as an autonomous body for drawing up policies for and governance of state universities would be the focal point of reforms planned in higher education.

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