No Act but model guidelines for opening private varsities

The State government has decided to shelve the Private Universities Bill and instead come up with model guidelines for opening private varsities in Maharashtra.

Higher and Technical Education Minister Rajesh Tope said that the pending Private Universities Bill was stuck over the issue of reservation of seats in private universities.

"The state cabinet had stipulated 25% reservation in the Private Universities Bill and forwarded it to the Governor for assent. The bill was rejected by the Governor over the issue of reservation. Thereafter, we decided to frame model guidelines for opening new private universities as some progressive states have done," he said.

Speaking to mediapersons on the sidelines of an event at CoEP here, Tope said the state policy on reservation would be adopted for private universities, and the proposal would be routed through the cabinet.

"We are in support of opening of private universities for they will ensure increase in Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) in higher education and impart quality education," he said. The minister also announced that the perspective plan for higher education was ready and would shortly be placed before the cabinet.

"New professional education institutes are mushrooming in the state, jeopardizing quality of higher education. The AICTE has been giving approval to new institutes in large numbers, without paying any heed to quality of education. The issue was even raised with the HRD Ministry. The perspective plan takes care of this concern," he said, adding that Maharashtra is the first state to come out with such a plan.

Pune-Lonavala local trains not to run for 10 days

Due to ongoing work on a road under-bridge between Akurdi and Dehuroad stations on the Pune-Lonavla section, two local train services will remain partially suspended between Chinchwad and Lonavla stations for ten days from January 13. The 99818-up local that leaves Pune at 3 pm will run from Pune to Chinchwad instead of Chinchwad to Lonavala, while 99813-down Lonavla-Pune local, which leaves Lonavala at 2 pm, will run between Chinchwad and Pune stations, railway authorities said.

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