New Delhi: The Lok Sabha on Wednesday took up a bill for the establishment of the Sammakka Sarakka Central Tribal University in Telangana in pursuance of the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act.
Piloting the Central Universities (Amendment) Bill, 2023 in the lower house, Minister of State for Education Subhas Sarkar said the tribal university in Telangana is being established in pursuance of the commitments made in the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act, 2014.
The discussion on the bill will continue on Thursday. The central government, Sarkar said, will ensure early completion of the tribal university in Telangana.
The university is named in honour of legendary mother-daughter duo Sammakka and Sarakka who are revered by tribals across the country.
According to the statement and objects of the bill, the establishment of Sammakka Sarakka Central Tribal University will cater to the regional aspirations for years to come.
The proposed institution, it said, will increase access and quality of higher education and facilitate and promote higher education and research facilities for the people of Telangana.
“Apart from bringing focus to tribal education, the central tribal university shall carry out all educational and other activities like any other central university,” it read.
The Central Universities Act, 2009 was enacted to establish and incorporate universities for teaching and research in various states. The law is tweaked from time to time.
Participating in the debate, Congress member Saptagiri Sankar Ulaka underlined the need for creating an ecosystem for preserving and promoting tribal culture.
He said that discrimination in IITs and IIMs is forcing SC, ST and OBC students to commit suicide.
Ulaka also demanded that reserved seat vacancies in universities and institutes of higher education be filled at the earliest.
Sunita Duggal of the BJP said that universities will help the tribal youth of Telangana to pursue higher education.
Raising the issue of frequent suicides by students belonging to the Dalit community, DMK member A Raja said that there is a need to change the discriminatory mindset.
Recalling the contribution of former prime minister V P Singh, Raja said that he sacrificed his life for the upliftment of Other Backward Classes (OBCs).
He wanted to know what measures being undertaken by the government to remove discrimination being faced by Dalit students.
Trinamool Congress member Aparupa Poddar said that crime against tribals has been increasing and vacancies for reserved seats in central universities are not being filled.
She wanted to know why the central government has come out with the bill after 10 years of the passage of the Andhra Pradesh reorganisation legislation.
Poddar also raised the issue of Visva-Bharati university.
“UNESCO gave heritage status to Visva-Bharati university and its vice-chancellor did not mention the name of (Nobel laureate) Rabindranath Tagore in the plaque. The plaque only has the name of vice-chancellor and Prime Minister Narendra Modi,” she said, adding “nobody can become Rabindranath Tagore by keeping beard. You have disrespected Rabindranath Tagore and West Bengal”.
Her remarks evoked sharp response from BJP members.
Minister Sarkar retorted by saying “you are lying”.
The other members who participated in the debate included S Azad (BSP), JD(U) member Alok Kumar Suman and R D Gavit (Shiv Sena).