Welcoming Bharatiya Janata Party leader Arun Shourie’s remarks in support of the diesel price hike, Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal on Monday said the BJP should listen to his “good advice.”

Mr. Shourie, a former Union Minister, said if he had to hail “only one step of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh” it would be the decision of increasing the diesel prices. On allowing FDI in retail, he said the move would neither lead to any profit nor any loss.

At a function here, Mr. Sibal strongly supported the government's move to allow FDI in multi-brand retail, saying the opposition being witnessed now similar to the one witnessed when the government opened up the automobile sector. “The sector is more robust today than any other sector.”

Criticising the Opposition for stalling key legislations on higher education in Parliament, Mr. Sibal said such actions paralysed the decision-making process and harmed the country. “In the event the Opposition parties continue to stall these very significant legislations, I do believe they are harming the future of India and people. The paralysis does not lie in government decision-making, the paralysis lies in Parliament where those decisions are not allowed to fructify through legislations.”

Addressing a roundtable on government-industry partnership on setting up theme-based innovation centres, he said: “We have taken all the decisions [about the bills] in the first one year; the rest is for all to see. All legislations were presented in the first year and it took two-and-half-years to go to the standing committee stage. Now when they come to Parliament after endorsement of the standing committee, we are not allowed to be voted upon and not allowed to be discussed.”

Referring to the Accreditation Bill and the Unfair Practices Bill, he said the passage of these bills would have paved the way for ensuring quality and transparency in higher educational institutes in matters of admission and capitation fee.

Talking about the gross enrolment ratio, he hoped that it would touch 30 per cent by 2020. The Planning Commission, which had expressed doubts on achieving the target, had accepted that the figure would reach 27 per cent by 2017.

He called upon industry to partner with the government and the All India Council of Technical Education for setting up theme-based innovation centres, which would cater to problems in different sectors. These institutes would be fully autonomous, independently focusing on research and innovation and granting PhD degrees, he said.

One of the models suggested was for industry to spend 10 per cent of their corporate social responsibility fund on innovation centres. According to a concept note, it would be imperative that each Ministry facilitates setting up a theme-based innovative institute in tie-up with industry partners either in public or private sector with the HRD Ministry acting as a nodal agency.

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