Plan panel meet put off

Written by Mukesh Ranjan | New Delhi, Sep 3 | Updated: Sep 4 2007, 07:05am hrs
Serious differences between Prime Minister Office and human resource development (HRD) ministry over linking of higher allocation to reforms in education have led to postponement of the full Planning Commission meeting on the subject for third time in a row. The jinxed meeting, which was scheduled for Tuesday, was also postponed twice earlier on the request from HRD ministry. The earlier meetings were scheduled for August 6 and 28.

Apparently, the HRD ministry is not too happy with the attempts of the PMO to link higher allocation to the education sector with reforms, government sources said.

The PMO in its brief wants the HRD ministry to avail unprecedented higher allocations in the sector only on the condition that it pushes the reform milestones like restructuring of UGC and AICT in a time bound manner. The other points of differences between the two are private sector funding in universities not funded by the UGC and improvement in fee structure for all the Central universities to realise at least 20% of the operating cost, they added.

Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia, however, attributed the reason to ill health of HRD minister Arjun Singhs wife. The meeting was postponed as Singhs wife is in the ICU and he is not in a position to attend the meeting. I hope things will get better soon and we will have a new date for the meeting, he said.