The Assam Assembly has paved the way for the creation of six new universities, passing as many legislations for the purpose during its ongoing autumn session.
Education Minister Ranoj Pegu moved the Bills, seeking to upgrade existing colleges to varsities.
The House passed through voice vote ‘The Nagaon University Bill, 2023’, ‘The Gurucharan University Bill, 2023’, ‘The Bongaigaon University Bill, 2023’, ‘The Jagannath Barooah University Bill, 2023’, ‘The North Lakhimpur University Bill, 2023’ and ‘The Sibsagar University Bill, 2023’. Replying to issues raised during the discussion on the Bills, Pegu said a minimum of 100 bighas and five departments with qualified faculty are required, among other prerequisites, for starting a new university.
He said the University Grants Commission is making some relaxations in these provisions for the time being but the government has to meet the requirements soon. He said the existing infrastructure of the colleges that are being upgraded is being used and funds have already been allotted for expansion.
The minister accepted an amendment moved by the AIUDF for the inclusion of two MLAs each in the varsities’ top decision-making bodies.
The House also gave assent to seven amendment Bills which will empower the Comptroller and Auditor General of India to check and audit accounts of these universities.
The amendment Bills were for Bodoland University, Assam Science and Technology University, Assam Women’s University, Cotton University, Gauhati University, Madhadev University and Kumar Bhaskar Varma Sanskrit and Ancient Studies University.
Among other Bills passed by the Assembly were ‘The Assam Panchayat (Amendment) Bill, 2023’, which was moved by Panchayat and Rural Development Minister Ranjeet Kumar Dass and ‘Assam Motor Vehicle Taxation (Amendment) Bill, 2023’, moved by Transport Minister Parimal Suklabaidya.
‘The Mobility of Employees of State Government and other Establishment (for Optimum Utilisation of Available Manpower for Efficiency) Bill, 2023’, moved by Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, who also holds the personnel department, was also given the nod.
Finance Minister Ajanta Neog’s ‘The Assam Micro-Finance Institutions (Regulation of Money Lending) (Amendment) Bill, 2023’ and ‘The Assam Goods & Services Tax (Amendment) Bill, 2023’ also got the assent of the House.
‘The Guwahati Metropolitan Development Authority (Amendment) Bill, 2023’ and ‘The Assam Public Safety (Measures) Enforcement (Amendment) Bill, 2023’, both moved by Housing and Urban Affairs Minister Ashok Singhal, were also passed by the Assembly.
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