Sunday, September 05, 2010

PM compliments Sibal's dedication on handling HRD ministry

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh signalled his full support and confidence in human resource development minister Kapil Sibal in his Teachers' Day address. Prime Minister Singh complimented the minister for his zeal and dedication in handling the most important ministry. This vote of confidence comes close on the heels of the attack by a Congress colleague in Parliament during the discussion on the National Educational Tribunal bill on the last day of the monsoon session. With the Prime Minister coming out in Mr. Sibal's support, the chapter on Mr. Sibal's isolation within the party is expected to be closed.

"I compliment and pay tribute to my colleague Kapil Sibal for the zeal, dedication and enthusiasm that he has brought to bear on the work of this most important ministry of union government that the human resource development ministry is", the Prime Minister said during his address to the national award winning teachers on the occasion of Teachers' Day.

The HRD minister had to defer the Education Tribunal Bill, 2010, a key educational reform bills, which came under attack from Opposition members as also senior Congress leader K. Keshava Rao in the Rajya Sabha. Even though the ministry has maintained that this was not a setback, a delay of three months for the passage of the bill was not something Mr. Sibal had expected.

Mr. Sibal had been keen to ensure the passage of the tribunals bill in the monsoon session as it would have expedited the process of taking up two linked bills. Together with the national educational tribunal bill, the Prohibition of Unfair Practices in Technical, Medical Educational Institutions and Universities Bill and National Accreditation Authority Bill form the basis of the HRD minister's reform plans for higher education. The Lok Sabha rules do not permit taking up of linked bills, till one of them has been notified. The HRD minister has avoided making any public recriminations against his party colleagues or the governments floor management in Parliament. However, the fact that a senior Congress leader chose to speak out against him would have caused some consternation. The Prime Ministers public praise, a clear signal of support, puts an end to the matter.

Coming as a boost, Mr. Sibal used the ocassion accorded by the Teachers' Day lunch to stress once again on the need for reform. Linking school education to the country's economic growth, Mr. Sibal pitched for good pay packages for teachers to attract the best minds. He said that the sector would witness investments to the tune of billions of dollars in the next two decades and become the fastest growing sector in the country.

"What you are doing in schools will directly impact the GDP of the country......The Gross Enrolment Ratio is presently 12.4 per cent and this should touch 30 per cent", the minister said at a lunch hosted by him for the national award winning teachers.

Source: The Economic Times, September 5, 2010
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