The Centre’s avowed policy —a Central university for every State — is expected to help the cause of the Andhra and Rayalaseema regions once a separate province is formed

A new Central university may be a reality in the bifurcated Andhra Pradesh. The policy of the Union Ministry of Human Resource Development to have a Central university in States where it does not exist is likely to help the cause.

“A Central university should be announced for the Andhra-Rayalaseema region by the Central Government along with the package it plans to give,” former JNTU Vice-Chancellor Allam Appa Rao told The Hindu.

He said the University of Hyderabad (UoH) itself was a part of the package to keep the State united after the 1969 Telangana agitation and the 1971 Jai Andhra agitation.

“Such a decision will soothe the frayed tempers of youngsters in the region,” Mr. Appa Rao said. That Union HRD Minister M.M. Pallam Raju hails from the region is to its advantage, he added.

Senior professor at UoH I. Ramabrahmam also backed the demand for a Central university. He reminded that the sixth of the Six-Point Formula of 1973 was the establishment of a Central university for Andhra Pradesh. There would be no additional financial burden on the State Government since the Centre already provides an annual grant of Rs. 200 crore towards the improvement of educational facilities.

A Central university has lot more freedom in terms of its courses, recruitment and setting up centres of excellence in collaboration when compared to State universities.

“It will immensely benefit the region,” agrees a former professor of Andhra University, who agreed that such a move would calm the youngsters of the region.

Sceptism remains

However, some professors are wary of the politicians and their promises. They recall Union Minister D. Purandeshwari’s unfulfilled promise of an IIM in the region. In 2008, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh himself had promised a world-class university at Visakhapatnam when he inaugurated the Indian Science Congress there. The S.K. Joshi Committee had also proposed IIT status to Andhra University College of Engineering. None of these proposals have materialised.

Fruition rides on netas

A lot depends on politicians, they say, reminding that Bihar was sanctioned two Central universities recently with State Chief Minister Nitish Kumar lobbying strongly for them. Interestingly, Hyderabad has three Central varsities – UoH, Maulana Azad National Urdu University and English and Foreign Languages University (Eflu).