A bill seeking to set up country's first central university for women was introduced in the Lok Sabha on Tuesday. The proposed university will be set up at Rae Bareli in Uttar Pradesh, the constituency of Congress president Sonia Gandhi.
The university, to be named after former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, would focus on advanced disciplines of education. Indira Gandhi also represented Rae Bareli for a long time.
The proposed university would be set up at a cost of Rs. 500 crore during the 12th Plan Period. The expenditure would be met from the Consolidated Fund of India through the University Grants Commission under the budgetary provisions of the Human Resource Development Ministry.
"Establishment of a Central University for women would have a multiplier effect on availability of empowered women in all walks of life. As a model central university for women, it will create standards of excellence to be followed by others. Such a university will help in the fight to overcome discrimination and change perceptions about what women can and should do," the Bill says.
Of the total 121 crore population in the country, 58.6 crore are women. They constitute 9.5 crore of the population in Uttar Pradesh alone.
Seeking to check discrimination, Clause 7 of the Bill states that the university shall be open to women of whatever cast, creed, race or class "and it shall not be lawful for the university to adopt or impose any test whatsoever of religious belief or profession in order to entitle her to be admitted as a student in the university."
Also tabled in the Lok Sabha was the first-ever national aviation university of the country. To be named after former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi - who was a commercial pilot before he joined politics - the university will train pilots, cabin crew and aircraft engineers. This university, too, will come up at Rae Bareli.
The Rajiv Gandhi National Aviation University Bill 2013, provides for creation of this central university on a 26 acre plot of land at the Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Udaan Academy at Fursatganj in Rae Bareli.
The university, an autonomous body under administrative control of the Civil Aviation Ministry, would have an estimated funding of Rs 202 crore during the 12th Plan period, of which Rs. 80 crore has already been sanctioned by the Centre.
The need for the university was felt due to the "marked absence of credible institutions imparting specialised technical and managerial training in air transportation, safety, security and regulatory areas," the bill's Statement of Objects and Reasons said.
"The opportunity cost of not investing in human resources required for the civil aviation sector in India at this juncture would result in reduced growth, increased cost of operations, compromise on safety and missed opportunities," it pointed out.
The varsity would promote aviation studies, training and research with focus on emerging areas like aviation management, aviation regulation and policy, aviation history, aviation science and engineering, aviation law, aviation safety and security and aviation medicine.
As there was a sizeable number institutions providing flying training, there was a need to standardise the quality of such education and training through affiliation and academic supervision by a central university, the statement said.
Another bill to replace the Directorate General of Civil Aviation by a new regulator for the Indian aviation sector, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), was introduced in the Lok Sabha on Tuesday.
The Civil Aviation Authority of India Bill 2013 would provide the CAA full operational and financial autonomy to regulate all issues concerning civil aviation safety and protect the interests of consumers in a fast-changing aviation scenario.
It would be empowered to levy fees and charges under the Aircraft Act 1934 and undertake its own recruitment of professionals, which is currently carried by the UPSC for the DGCA.
The bill was brought by the government after the UN-body International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) and the US regulator Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) carried out audits of the DGCA last year and pointed towards the "unsatisfactory situation" faced by it.