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Governor talks tough on move to amend RGUHS Act

Special Correspondent
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‘I have told government not to disturb university’s autonomy’

Governor H.R. Bhardwaj with Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and Minister of State for Medical Education Sharanprakash Patil at the foundation stone laying ceremony of the Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Public Health and Centre for Disease Control and Advanced Research Centre blocks at Bheemanakuppe on the outskirts of Bangalore on Friday.— Photo: K. Murali Kumar
Governor H.R. Bhardwaj with Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and Minister of State for Medical Education Sharanprakash Patil at the foundation stone laying ceremony of the Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Public Health and Centre for Disease Control and Advanced Research Centre blocks at Bheemanakuppe on the outskirts of Bangalore on Friday.— Photo: K. Murali Kumar

The State government’s move to infringe on the autonomy of the Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences (RGUHS) by amending the RGUHS Act 1994 is not likely to be an easy task.

After rejecting an Ordinance in this regard last month, Governor H.R. Bhardwaj on Friday said he may again reject the amendment bill, which the government is planning to table in the Belgaum session, if the changes suggested by him have not been incorporated.

He was speaking to presspersons on the sidelines of the foundation stone laying ceremony of Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Public Health and Centre for Disease Control and Advanced Research Centre blocks at Bheemanakuppe on the outskirts of the city.

If passed, the amendment bill, which has been approved by the State Cabinet, will enable the government to have its Principal Secretaries for Medical Education, Higher Education and Health and Family Welfare, apart from five other nominees, in the university’s Syndicate.

The move is to amend Sections 21 and 24 of the RGUHS Act 1994. While the amendment to Section 21 is to include the Medical Education Secretary in the Senate, the amendment to Section 24 is to include the Secretaries of Higher Education, Medical Education and Health and Family Welfare or their nominees not below the rank of Deputy Secretary to government and five nominees of the government from amongst the graduates of health sciences. This will increase the strength of the 16-member Syndicate to 24, of which 11 will be government nominees.

Suggestions

“I have told them (government) not to disturb the university’s autonomy. I have suggested that they can include medical experts in the Syndicate, but not the Higher Education Secretary. The Act pertains to Medical Education, and the Higher Education Secretary has nothing to do with it,” he said.

Mr. Bhardwaj added: “I have suggested the changes. But, who cares for the Governor. Let them pass the bill and let it come to me. If they have not incorporated the changes, I will again reject it.”

Earlier, after laying the foundation stone for the centres, the Governor said people should not indulge in dirty politics when it pertains to the functioning and development of the Health Sciences University.

Referring to the litigation related to the allotment of 270 acres of land for the university’s campus near Ramanagaram, the Governor said: “I do not understand why people play dirty politics even when the matter pertains to a health sciences university. The matter has been dragged to the Supreme Court and it is pending there,” he said.

Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said the varsity’s research centre was the need of the hour. “There should be more research in preventive care for the benefit of the society. He said the government would support the university in its endeavours.” Union Minister of State for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises K.H. Muniyappa, Ministers U.T. Khader and Sharanprakash Patil spoke.

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