Increase investment on higher education: Educationist to PM

G Viswanathan, Founder and Chancellor of VIT, has said Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke about accessibility, affordability and equity in higher education. "To implement this, the government should come forward to spend more money in the education sector," he said, during the inauguration of 13-Floor Hostel Block named after former PM A B Vajpayee and Academic Block named in honour of Mahatma Gandhi.

Viswanathan said that women formed 49 % of India’s population and were the backbone of saving money in the country. At present, they constituted only about 7 to 8 % in Legislative Assemblies in the State, 10 % of the judiciary strength in High Courts and among Legislators in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha – the lower and upper houses of Parliament, the number was only 12 and 11 %. Further, they formed only 15% in Indian Administrative and Police Services, Dr. Viswanathan said.

The Chancellor said that everyone in the country was talking about empowerment of women and though the bill was introduced in 1996 to provide one-third of representation in State Assemblies and Parliament, it has been pending for the past 22 years. Despite all parties extending their support to the Bill, it was yet to be passed, Dr. Viswanathan said, adding that it was high time to honour the women of India and to give them their due place. To make this happen, it had to begin with women’s education, he added.

He recalled that for the past 30 to 40 years, there have been demands that 6 % of the country’s Gross Domestic Product should be spent on higher education, yet, the current share had not even touched 4 %. Dr. Viswanathan said that even during the latest Budget, only 3 % of the Rs. 27 lakh Crore was allotted for education. “We have suggested that if this is not possible to implement this immediately, the government can begin by providing free higher education to girls,” he said and that this could be followed by implement for the rest. “The country should spend more money on education and health and that is the important duty of elected government,” he remarked.