Lok Sabha Passes Central Universities (Amendment) Bill 2022

New Delhi: The Lok Sabha today passed the Central Universities (Amendment) Bill 2022, which provides for establishing central universities in various states by amending the Central Universities Act of 2009.

The Bill, introduced by Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan in the Lower House, seeks to convert the Vadodara-based National Rail and Transportation Institute, a deemed university to Gati Shakti Vishwavidyalaya which will be a central university.

The Vishwavidyalaya will be sponsored and funded by the central government through the Ministry of Railways. Gati Shakti Vishwavidyalaya will take measures to provide quality teaching, research, and skill development in disciplines related to transportation, technology, and management. It will address the need for trained talent in the transportation sector.

Opposition parties including the AITC, Congress, and the DMK boycotted the discussion on the Bill in protest against the raid by central agencies, which they termed were targeted at opposition leaders. Persistent sloganeering by the opposition members forced the chair to adjourn the House for about an hour till 4 pm.

When the discussion resumed, Union Minister of Railways Ashwani Vaishnaw allayed fears of brain drain and added that in sectors like telecom, electronics, and Information Technology, students who had left the country and gone abroad have returned to India to share their skills either by associating or launching start-ups. He also said, the focus of the institute will be on five major aspects – transport-focused courses, skill development, applied research, technology development and transport economics and infrastructure financing.

Echoing similar sentiments, Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said there is a need to deviate from the concept of government-funded universities. He said, alumni of various educational institutions are now supporting their alma-mater to improve their standards.

Initiating the discussions, Vadodara MP Ranjanaben Bhatt (BJP) said, that the advancement of technology has made it imperative for training in specialized fields and the need for such courses which would guarantee immediate jobs.

Bhartruhari Mahtab (BJD), Rattan Lal Kataria (BJP), SS Ahluwalia (BJP), Kaushalendra Kumar (JDU) and Hasnain Masoodi (JKNC) also spoke on the bill.