A Newfound Respect for Legal Sanctity

June 17, 2008

India Today (which I read only because my guesthouse had nothing else except Femina) has a report out on how Arjun Singh and/ or the Ministry of Education has found objections to all the National Knowledge Commission’s recommendations except the one on increasing government funding for university education.

It seems Arjun is determined to spoil the reforms party. A detailed comment prepared by the ministry in response to the recommendations blames NKC for its feeble grasp of ground realities.

The ministry says private sector investment in higher education and public and private partnership can be encouraged only within the ambit of the Supreme Court judgement, which clarifies that private investment in higher education will be based on the principle of nonprofit and non-commercial purpose.

On a cautionary note, it says appropriate policies should be made for the entry of foreign institutions in India: “The entry of sub-standard and fly-by-night operators has to be prevented.”

NKC observes that private investment in university education is almost negligible, whereas in professional education there is de facto privatisation.

(India Today)

Performance based pay for professors has also been rejected, as it is legally uncertain:

Another controversial proposal—salary differentials within the universities in favour of better performing teachers—has also been rejected as its legal sanctity is in question.

I recall the last time the legal sanctity of something was in question – reservations in private colleges, that is – the UPA amended the Constitution. This newfound respect for existing law is most heartening.