Mamata Opposes UGC Circular On Modi’s Speech


Kolkata: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has directed all state universities and colleges to ignore the directive of University Grants Commission (UGC) to arrange live telecast of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s speech on September 11 on the occasion of the 125th anniversary of Swami Vivekananda’s address to the World Parliament of Religions in Chicago.

“The Centre cannot do it without informing or without taking the concurrence of the state government concerned,” said Partha Chatterjee, state Education minister at a press conference at Nabanna (state Secretariat) on Friday. The circular asked all the vice-chancellors of universities and heads of higher educational institutions to “provide opportunity and facility to the teachers and students to view” Modi’s address.

Criticising the Centre for destructing the federal structure of the country, the Education minister said: “It is not acceptable to us, since we feel that this is a clear attempt of saffronisation of education. The colleges and universities in the state were surprised by the recent UGC circular. Then they approached us. I have clearly told them that there is no necessity to adhere to the UGC directive. They are taking decisions on their own without consulting us.”

Recently, just before Independence Day, the Bengal government instructed schools in the state not to follow the Centre’s circular building ‘mass fervour’ around PM’s ‘New India Mission’ and administering a ‘Sankalp se Siddhi’ pledge to all students. The Union Human Resource Development Ministry had written to all states on August 7 to create a “patriotic mood” by holding events between August 9 and 30 to realise the vision of a ‘New India’.