The government has introduced a bill on Monday in the Rajya Sabha that seeks to transform the National Rail and Transportation University into a central university which it demands to be called Gati Shakti Vishwavidyalaya.
According to an official statement, the bill was introduced by Minister of Railways Ashwini Vaishnaw on the floor of the upper house.“There is a need to create a university producing a talented, well-trained and focused cadre for handling the complexities of the transport sector,” the minister said. He further added that this is also an effort to enlarge PM GatiShakti National Master Plan.
Currently, the National Rail and Transportation University located in Vadodara is a deemed-to-be institution. The Central Universities (Amendment) Bill, which also seeks to expand the scope of the deemed university from beyond the railways to cover the entire transport sector to support the ambitious growth and modernisation in the field, has already been passed by the Lok Sabha on August 3, 2022.
“This university would be conducted by the Railway Ministry and coordinated under the Nation Education Policy of the Education Ministry,” Vaishnaw said. He further added that it would focus on areas such as transport-focused courses and applied research on the subject like bridges, tunnels, material science, artificial intelligence and new energy.
Vaishnaw said the university will also focus on skill development, technology development, transport economic and infrastructure finance. Initiating the debate, Congress MP L Hanumanthaiah said this central university would be set up in Gujarat, which will be the second central university in the state.
According to him, the NEP 2020 stressed the need for a multidisciplinary approach to education. The academicians across the country have raised their concerns that if a transport-oriented institute is converted into a central university, this does not meet the multi-disciplinary spirit of the national education policy.
“Converting it into a central university is just a matter of a change of name and not the purpose of making it a research institute,” he added.
“Earlier also, a lot of individual institutes have been converted into either centers of excellence or central universities for Gujarat only and not for other states,” he said. This will bring 16 ministries together including railways, waterways and even Uddan, Hanumanthaiah said, and asked whether like other central universities, this new university would get full autonomy or not.