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New education policy draft would stall reforms, warns pro-Modi economist

By Our Representative
In a surprise move, top pro-Modi economist Arvind Panagariya, who served as first vice-chairman of the think-tank Niti Aayog between January 2015 and August 2017, has sharply criticized the 484 pages draft National Education Policy (NEP) 2019, released by the Government of India recently saying the proposal to set up the National Higher Education Regulatory Authority of India as an all-encompassing body that would stall reforms altogether.
In a commentary authored jointly with B Venkatesh Kumar, he says, the new authority would “subsume the functions of many professional regulatory bodies such as the Bar Council of India and the erstwhile Medical Council of India (MCI).” Panagariya and Kumar are currently professors with the Columbia University, US, and Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai, respectively.
Also criticizing it for being “a massive document”, insisting that a policy should be “a short and crisp framework document, with details eventually spelt out in legislations and rules and regulations that flow from it”, Panagariya also takes exception to the proposed formation of the Rashtriya Shiksha Aayog, saying, it envisages that “several existing and proposed regulatory bodies would be reporting to this overarching commission.”
Calling it a “large bureaucracy” that would “go against the current spirit of greater decentralisation in education”, Panagariya says, “Research and quality of education remain India’s greatest challenges in higher education sector. At the top end, we lack internationally renowned institutions. At the bottom end, we have allowed numerous colleges unworthy of the title on account of nearly missing faculty and infrastructure.”

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