MoS HRD Katheria defends cut in education budget

Neelu Vyas

ramshankarkatheria

Minister of State for Human Resource and Development, Ram Shankar Katheria speaks to Rajya Sabha TV in an exclusive interview.

HRD ministry has been dogged by maximum controversies in the past one year of Modi government. But Katheria put up a spirited defence of the controversial decisions.

The MoS has denied all charges that the government is intervening with the autonomy of premier institutions like IIMs and IITs. Instead, he accused the UPA government of running the education sector arbitrarily.

Katheria believes that a strict control over the system needs to be taken and that is precisely what the government is doing. But the Opposition is only giving it a political colour, says Katheria.

Katheria defended the cut in the budgetary allocation in education sector. He said that the excess financial flab of UPA has been cut down.

On being questioned on the ‘saffronising’ of curriculum, Katheria says that the process is still on and not just the RSS, but also the left liberals are on board.

On the controversy over Smriti’s Irani’s fake degree, Katheria backed her on all counts saying that he has no doubt over her qualifications.

 

Here are some excerpts from the interview –

Are you pursuing the education agenda on the right track because your ministry has grabbed the maximum headlines for controversies? 

Right to education is critical for the nation’s future. Focus on addressing fundamental flaws, controversies are a handiwork of the opposition. .

Your ministry has been accused of usurping the autonomy of premier institutions?

We are not tinkering with the autonomy of institutions. We have invited suggestions from all quarters. The government is giving ‘creative freedom’ to all institutions. Somehow, good deeds done by the government are also being questioned. This government is committed on taking ‘good decisions’.

Your government wants to take control of the state and central universities?

The government is not going to interfere with the federal structure. Government plans to enforce collective agenda and is not bothered with the current perception. There are some flaws in the current educational system. We need to have an inclusive education policy.

How can you say that you are serious about education when you have cut down the budget from 83,000 crore to 63,000 crore?

UPA regime indulged in wasteful expenditure. The NDA government has whittled down the unnecessary schemes. Centre is financing 3 lakh toilets in the schools and the Niti Ayog is monitoring the implementation.

Yours and HRD minister Smriti Irani’s degrees have been questioned? What do you have to say?

Attacks on me are part of a political agenda. There are no doubts on Smriti Irani’s educational qualifications.