During the session, the BJP questioned why two districts were left out, Congress called it an ‘appeasement’ move ahead of parliamentary elections
Eight new universities will come into Karnataka under the Karnataka State Universities (Amendment) Act passed in the state’s Legislative Assembly on Wednesday, September 21. New universities will be established in Bidar, Haveri, Kodagu, Chamrajangar, Hassan, Bagakote and Koppal. In addition, the unitary college in Mandya will be upgraded to a varsity. This will increase the number of universities in the state to 69 (including 25 private and 11 presumed universities).
According to Times of India, Higher Education Minister CN Ashwath Narayan, who introduced the law, said it is the first amendment to the law in 22 years. He said the government decided to open a university in every district because of the changed reality. He added that the intent behind the amendment was to ensure equality and empowerment in access to education. The state will initially spend Rs 14 crore to establish these universities and will allocate Rs 2 crore to each university every year.
The move has provoked mixed reactions from all parties. While the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) raised questions about why Uttara Kannada and Chikkamagalur were left out, Congress called it a “reconciliation move” ahead of next year’s parliamentary elections.
Speaker Vishweshwar Hegde Kageri was also critical of the move, pointing out that the infrastructure and quality of education in existing universities is deteriorating. He said the government should focus on improving established universities rather than setting up new ones.
Congress MLA Priyank Kharge said this move was solely for political influence and it was not possible to establish universities with a budget of Rs 14 crore. Another congress leader, Krishna Byre Gowda, also pointed out that it would cost at least Rs 100 crore to establish universities and asked why more universities should be established if the financial strength of the existing ones was ‘pathetic’.