From CK Nayak
New Delhi: Lingering problems of two premier institutes of Meghalaya — NEIGRIHMS and NEHU — might soon be resolved with Governor Ranjit Shekhar Mooshahary raising the matter at the two-day Governors’ conference here and the Union Government taking note of the same.
The Governor said that the Director of NEIGRIHMS had resigned and a number of faculty posts have been lying vacant for a long time despite the State Government’s intervention. NEHU, too, has been plagued with agitations from time to time, he said, adding that the issues have been resolved at his intervention for the time being, but the Centre was yet to initiate any action in this regard.
Agreeing with Mooshahary, President Mrs Pratibha Devisingh Patil said that there was a recommendation by Governors to provide an enabling climate for them to discharge their
Statutory duties as Chancellors of State Universities in a more positive and effective manner.
“There should be clarity on the expected interface between Governors and Central Universities in general, and as Chief Rectors in particular,” Mrs Patil said.
Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh, who also spoke at the conference, suggested that as Chancellors of State Universities, Governors should take active interest in toning up the quality of administration of higher educational institutions in their respective states. Minister of State for Human Resources Development, Mrs D Purandeswari, assured that a Central team would be deputed to Shillong to ascertain the problems in NEHU.
Seeking greater role for the State Government in the functioning of both the Central institutes (NEIGRIHMS and NEHU) Mooshahary said that these institutions were at par with AIIMS and Delhi University respectively.
Mooshahary also took up the matter of extending the Anti-Defection Law to the autonomous district councils in the Northeast which are suffering from frequent instability due to rampant ‘horse trading’. “The Tenth Schedule of the Constitution which deals with anti-defection should be extended to the ADCs also,” he said.
The Governor also made an important suggestion to extend the Lok Pal system to the Northeastern states. “Vigilance system is poor in the region and in the absence of institutions like Lok Pal it would be difficult to control corruption,” he said.
Echoing Mooshahary’s concerns, the Prime Minister said that the Union Government was committed to take all possible measures to curb corruption in administration and deliver good governance to citizens. “The Governors can have a major say in this aspect in the state governance,” Dr Singh said.
The Prime Minister, while speaking about the administration of areas under the Fifth and Sixth Schedules, said that Governors have accorded special responsibilities for administering such Scheduled areas. “The democratic process and popular participation need to be further encouraged in the Scheduled areas, and the growth of democracy in these areas needs recalibration in the way in which Governors discharge their special responsibilities,” Dr Singh said.
The Prime Minister also urged the Governors to take active interest in the implementation of development programmes for SC/STs, OBCs, religious minorities, women and children.
Home Minister P Chidambaram, while referring to the provisions under the Fifth and Sixth Schedules of the Constitution, said that Governors enjoy special powers in their States in the areas coming under these Schedules. Referring to the situation in the Northeastern states, he said that there has been a dramatic improvement over time.
The Conference concluded with the President suggesting setting-up of a Committee of Governors to moot mutually beneficial models for a farmer-industry partnership, focusing on rain-fed area farming.
“The Committee would make suitable recommendations and would also formulate a Concept Paper to bring about an ‘Evergreen Revolution’ to harness the full potential of the agriculture sector,” Mrs Patil said.
Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar, Defence Minister AK Antony, Minister of Law & Justice and Minority Affairs Salman Khursheed, Tribal Affairs Minister V Kishore Chandra Deo, Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Women and Child Development, Mrs Krishna Tirath and Minister of State for External Affairs Mrs Preneet Kaur also gave presentations during the two-day Conference.