Modi Government to Prioritize a Pet UPA Project: Foreign Universities

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The Human Resources Development Ministry headed by Smriti Irani is working hard to bring back one of Rahul Gandhi's favourite projects

New Delhi:  The UPA is gone but one of its pet projects seems to have found favour with the new Narendra Modi government.

NDTV has learnt that the Human Resources Development Ministry headed by Smriti Irani is working hard to bring back one of Rahul Gandhi's favourite projects, the Foreign Universities Bill, which allows top Ivy League universities and Oxbridge to set up campuses in India.

When the proposal was introduced in 2012 in the Rajya Sabha by Education Minister Kapil Sibal, the Left objected strongly, alleging that sub-standard private foreign universities would be able to enter India once the education sector was opened up.

The proposal was then sent for study to a parliamentary committee and was never revived because the UPA did not have the numbers to get it cleared in the Rajya Sabha.

"The contours of the bill will remain the same," said an official in the Education Ministry to NDTV, confirming that the proposed legislation has been shortlisted as a must-do for the ministry's first-100-days agenda.

But the Left says it will not support the bill.  P Rajeev of the Communist Party of India - Marxist said, "Our stand remains the same. We don't want inferior colleges to come in".  (non-Ivy League, B-grade ones)

The Congress says that the focus on foreign universities proves that Mr Modi's government is helping itself to UPA polices and has no imaginative ideas of its own.

Former minister Sriprakash Jaiswal told NDTV that it is "easy to copy the policy" but said he doubts that the BJP will be able to deliver top foreign colleges even if the legislation is cleared by Parliament.

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