Maharashtra government, which aims to set up 25 to 30 private universities across the state, has granted permission to just one degree college over the past two years, reveals reply received under RTI
While Maharashtra aims to set up 25 to 30 private universities across the state, according to information procured under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, over the past two years, the state government has given approval to just one degree college.
RTI activist, Anil Galgali, who had filed the application, says, since 2014, the Maharashtra government received 298 applications for degree colleges. "During 2014-15, the Higher and Technical Education Department received 130 applications for new colleges. Out of this, only one application from Jalgaon-based North Maharashtra University was approved. Out of the 129 applications, 46 were issued letters of intent (LoIs)," the information provided by the Public Information Officer (PIO) under RTI reveals.
"In the year 2015-16, applications for 168 new colleges were submitted to the government, but the government has taken a decision to not give permission to any new college hence all the applications have been reverted back to the respective Universities," the PIO says.
The Education Department received 16 applications for new colleges from Aurangabad, 11 from Buldhana, nine each from Pune and Yavatmal, eight from Nashik, seven each from Chandrapur and Akola, six from Mumbai, five each from Hingoli, Solapur and Amravati, four each from Parbhani and Gadchiroli, three each from Nagpur, Latur, Jalgaon, Nandurbar, Osmanabad, two each from Satara, Ahmed Nagar, Nanded, Dhule, Kolhapur, Thane, Beed and one each from Raigad, Vasai, Ratnagiri, Baramati and Sangli districts, the reply received by Galgali shows.
Interestingly, majority of the proposals fail to satisfy conditions set by the government's decision. Non-availability of non-agriculture (NA) certificate and documents related with building is one of the most common reasons for not granting permissions, the RTI reveals.
According to Galgali, the government's decision to not grant permission to any new college is not correct. "Education as business in Maharashtra has become a fiefdom of few privileged people and the decision of the Government on not granting permission to new colleges is in tune with continued control of the education field for the privileged few," he said.
Just last month, Maharashtra Education Minister Vinod Tawde told media that the government was working on a proposal to make the state an education hub. He had said, "Our aim is to set up 25 to 30 private universities in different parts of Maharashtra. I would also like to have a private sports university and a full-fledged university of arts and culture."
“We plan to encourage formation of self-financed private universities which will help the state to achieve excellence in higher, technical, professional and management education without creating financial burden on state exchequer,” the minister had said.