Shashi Tharoor takes dig at politicos for resisting bill on education

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Minister of state for HRD Shashi Tharoor Minister of state for HRD Shashi Tharoor
Summary'Many politicians are in education business and resist reform measures that may threaten their privileges'.

Minister of state for HRD Shashi Tharoor took a dig at politicians resisting passage of bills relating to education in Parliament, saying some are in that business and so tend to resist reforms “that might threaten their privileges”.

“Some of the bills have been held up by their resistance. And lets be very blunt. Many of our politicians are in the education business and tend to resist reform measures that might threaten their privileges,” he said.

Tharoor said he was referring to bills already vetted and just need to be introduced (in Parliament) and voted. But there was not enough time due to frequent disruptions, he said.

Citing an example, he said the government had 25 bills listed for consideration and only three could be passed (last year) as the rest of the time was wasted in disruptions.

He was speaking at a conference.

Tharoor pointed out that many bills not voted upon are politically non-controversial. “Unfortunately the backlog might tend to bills getting lapsed, resulting in all the hard work put in coming to nought,” he said.

He urged the Opposition to behave responsibly to put their point of view across and “not disrupt functioning of the people's chamber”.

Tharoor was responding to a query on various legislations the UPA government had tabled in Parliament, but were pending for years due to lack of political consensus.

On 'brain drain' in India, with many students opting to study and settle abroad, he said it has turned out to be a 'brain gain' for the country, with two benefits.

The first was the indirect benefit of having to transform India's image through their successes into one of computer geeks and IT wizards. “That has been a very important development. That is an indirect benefit,” he said.

The direct benefit was many successful professionals have contributed back to society, setting up businesses and support networks for development of the country, which should not be underestimated. “So we have gained from the brain drain.”

He said in the last nine years, education's contribution to GDP had grown to 4.8 per cent from 3 per cent, but the target of reaching six per cent still “remains”. “Maybe we will accomplish that in UPA III,” he said.

Earlier, Tharoor, stressed the need for focussing on women's education.

Citing a study, he said 65 per cent of India's women are educated compared to 74 per cent men.

Tharoor said there is a widespread public concern over technical and medical education institutions resorting to unfair practices like charging capitation fees, demanding donations, putting one set of fees on the website and charging something else from parents.

The Ministry, he said, has introduced legislation to prohibit and punish such practices and it also been introduced in Parliament.

Related to this, a legislation to introduce Special Education Tribunals to deal with complaints has also been introduced by the ministry, he said.

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