When you think India, think the UPA-II government
By Gauri Kumar (Indian Express) The BJP government has announced that it has taken the first steps towards revising the existing National Education Act and making it applicable to higher education.
In a move that will put in place a new set of rules, the government will, in the course of five years, revise the existing Act, which currently applies to the entire country.
The National Education Reform (NERA) Bill, 2017 was tabled in the Rajya Sabha last month and the government said it had received the amendments that are required to bring in NERA as an Act.
In order to amend NERA, the BJP-ruled government has decided to amend the existing Civil Service and Central Provident Fund Act to make it applicable only to higher educational institutions.
The Act would also make it mandatory for the government to provide financial assistance to any educational institution, including a government-owned one, that has been found to be in violation of the existing laws.
The changes will make the current Act applicable to all higher education institutions.
Under NERA’s current provisions, the law states that “a government-controlled institution, or an educational institution that is affiliated with the Government of India, shall be exempt from the provisions of this Act”.
The amended Act will make it a criminal offence for any person to knowingly contravene this Act.
The proposed amendments have been framed under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 2017.
For the past four years, the National Advisory Committee on Education (NCAE) had recommended that the government amend NERA so that it would apply to higher ed institutions.
However, the NCAE had recommended instead that the existing NERAs should be revised to make NERAW (Nedu-Ulaan) applicable to universities and colleges, and the NRE (Nel-Nel) applicable only for the education sector.
Under the proposed revisions, the new Act will now make NERA applicable to institutions that are part of the National Institutes of Technology (NITs) or other colleges, universities, colleges, colleges or institutes that have been identified as being in violation under NERAS.
This will be done by making the definition of NERAR (National Education Reform) applicable.
The government will also take steps to revise the provisions that provide for the compensation of persons injured in the performance of their duties in the administration of higher education, and make provision for the registration of persons who have been suspended or expelled from higher education courses.
As per the amendments, the following provisions will be applicable to the educational sector: 1) The provisions relating to compensation of any person injured in his/her performance of his/ her duties in connection with the administration or maintenance of a higher education institution shall be applicable only in cases where such injury is due to the wilful contravention of the provisions under NERA; 2) The compensation of such person shall be not less than Rs 10 lakh for the first injury, Rs 30 lakh for subsequent injuries, and Rs 50 lakh for each subsequent injury; 3) The provision that compensation of an educational or vocational institution shall not exceed Rs 10 crore for the management of a financial deficit of Rs 10,000 crore shall not apply to such institution; 4) The liability of a government department to pay compensation to any person aggrieved by the performance or non-performance of its duties in its capacity as administrator or conservator shall not be excluded from the compensation payable by the state to the government of the State.
5) Any person aggressed against by the provisions contained in the amendments shall be entitled to be provided a remedy to be considered by the courts for the remedial purpose; and 6) Any such person aggressant shall be eligible for compensation under the provisions as amended.
The NERaw legislation also provides that a person may be disqualified from performing duties as an administrator, conservator, director or any other person or institution if such person is unable to act on his/ hers own account, has no legal capacity to act as administrator, and has wilfully and wilfully contravened any of the above provisions.
The amended legislation is expected to be passed by the Lok Sabha and then be sent to the Cabinet for consideration.