NEWDELHI: Congress General Secretary Rahul Gandhi has chosen to keep away from most of the meetings of the department-related parliamentary committee on Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry, barring one occasion.
The standing committee on HRD has considered historic pieces of legislation having a wide-ranging impact on the functioning of higher educational institutions in his absence.
Seventeen parliamentary standing committees, each consisting of 15 members of Rajya Sabha and 30 from Lok Sabha, were set up in 1993 in order to strengthen the accountability of the government to Parliament. These committees are entrusted with examining Bills pertaining to the appropriate ministries and report to Parliament. They also have the responsibility to consider the Demands for Grants of the ministries and report to Parliament.
The standing committee has presented reports on historic Bills such as the National Academic Depository Bill 2011, the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Bill 2011, the Protection of Women against Sexual Harassment at Workplace Bill 2010, the National Accreditation Regulatory Authority for Higher Educational Institutions Bill 2010, the Foreign Educational Institutions (Regulation of Entry and Operations) Bill 2010, the Prohibition of Unfair Practices in Technical Educational Institutions, Medical Educational Institutions and Universities Bill 2010, the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Amendment Bill 2010 and the Central Educational Institutions (Reservation in Admission) Amendment Bill 2010
Consider the report on the National Academic Depository Bill 2011. The proposed legislation is aimed at maintenance of a national database of academic awards in electronic format by an identified registered depository and curtails the menace of rampant use of fake certificates. But Rahul found nothing interesting in it and did not to contribute.
The committee met six times between November 23, 2011, and February 22, 2012, to adopt its report. As per its minutes, available with Express, Rahul Gandhi did not attend a single meeting. Similarly, the Protection of Women against Sexual Harassment at Workplace Bill 2010 was discussed by the standing committee in eight meetings between April 20, 2011, and November 30, 2011. Rahul attended only one of these. When the standing committee met six times to consider the National Accreditation Regulatory Authority for Higher Educational Institutions Bill 2010, he attend ed it just once.