Bihar governor-cum-chancellor Rajendra Vishwanath Arlekar has called a meeting of all the vice-chancellors of the state universities on April 3 at the Raj Bhawan to discuss the roadmap for higher education and find a way for its improvement.
Arlekar, who was appointed as the 31st governor of Bihar in February by replacing Phagu Chouhan had earlier said that he would seek a time-bound action plan from the VCs to deal with the vexed issues of derailed academic sessions and exam calendars and restore the academic atmosphere in the state universities.
During his over three-and-a-half-year tenure as the governor and chancellor of state universities, Chauhan faced several criticisms over the deteriorating health of the universities and corruption charges against vice-chancellors (VCs).
In another development, the Chancellor vested the financial power in the acting registrars in eight state universities so that work is not affected.
Also Read: Make ‘one officer, one post’ applicable in Bihar varsities: Edu department to VCs
“The Chancellor has vested the financial power in the acting registrars to discharge the work pertaining to withdrawal against 2022-23 budgetary allocation and salary/pension, after due consideration,” said the letter from Robert L Chongthu, principal secretary to the governor.
The move is necessitated due to the start of the financial year 2023-24 in which the universities will receive a budgetary allocation for payment of salary, pension and other requirements. In the state budget for fiscal 2023-24 with a total outlay of about ₹2.62 lakh crore, the highest allocation is for education with a total outlay of ₹40,450 crore.
The Chancellor earlier this month had removed Ravi Prakash ‘Babloo’ from the post of Jai Prakash University (JPU) registrar. Until a month ago, Babloo was also the acting registrar of Magadh University which faced protests over the delay in exams and later announcement of the results.
Soon after assuming charge, he created a flutter in the university circles by restraining with immediate effect the functioning of all the registrars appointed or shifted by his predecessor and present Meghalaya governor Phagu Chouhan after the Rashtrapati Bhawan issued the fresh notification about the appointment of governors.
Later, the Raj Bhawan wrote to the five universities to make alternative arrangements till further directions were issued with regard to the restrained registrars.
“It is directed that the replacements should not be below associate professor rank and should have no serious charges or departmental proceedings against them,” said the Raj Bhawan letter to the VCs of the five universities.
However, the final decision on the restrained registrars is still awaited.
To fulfil this, the state education department had earlier this week directed the registrars of all the state universities to complete the appointment of assistant professors, the recommendations for which had been already sent prior to the Patna high court order.
In a letter to the registrars, additional chief secretary Dipak Kunar Singh said the exercise involving the appointment of 461 teachers for different subjects should be completed at the earliest.
President of the Federation of Working Teachers’ Association of Bihar (FUTAB) KB Sinha has said that the Chancellor should end uncertainty at the earliest. Either they should be asked to return to their respective colleges, where there is an acute shortage of teachers, or asked to continue. He said that adhocism and deferred decisions have already done enough harm to universities over the years.
Also Read: Bihar govt directs varsities to complete appointment of assistant professors
The stay on the functioning of the registrars has created a flutter in the academic circles in the state, where appointments to key varsity positions have always raised a lot of controversies. This is, perhaps, the first time that registrars of so many universities have been restrained from functioning within a month of their appointment.
Most of the state universities in Bihar are known for the tendency of having officials holding additional charge within one or sometimes even multiple state universities for long periods. Even the VCs, registrars, exam controllers, financial advisors and finance officers have been known for holding additional charges
To prevent this, the Bihar government earlier this week asked the state universities to ensure that one person is deputed to one administrative post for smooth functioning. A letter regarding the same was sent to the vice-chancellors (VC) of all state universities.