HRD Ministry fighting to hold on to architecture schools


NEW DELHI: Human resource development ministry is making last ditch attempts to keep control of architectural schools in the country, even as the urban development ministry has all but wrested the reins of such institutions.

Caught unaware by the cabinet secretary’s surprising backing of urban development ministry’s claim to schools of planning & architecture (SPAs) in the country, the Prakash Javadekar-led HRD ministry now plans to write to the cabinet secretary, strongly opposing the move, government insiders said.

The move comes even as the cabinet secretariat is preparing to amend the allocation of business rules to transfer control of SPAs from HRD ministry to the Venkaiah Naidu-led urban development ministry (MoUD) and notify the same, they said.

This process normally takes about a month. The cabinet secretary had conveyed the decision of a committee of secretaries (CoS) to transfer the SPAs to the Naidu ministry earlier this month. The CoS had taken up the matter on February 27, sources said.

MoUD has argued for a control over SPAs citing its construction activity focus, and handling of flagship government projects such as Swachh Bharat and Smart Cities mission. Besides, it also pointed out that medical education, dentistry and pharmacy are out of HRD control as well.

“That is a strange comparison. Medical education requires attachment to high quality labs and bedded hospitals and hence it is affiliated with the health ministry, but not other education streams like engineering, management and so on,” a HRD ministry official said.

“On the other hand, colleges offering architecture courses are governed by regulations of the University Grants commission, All India Council for Technical Education and the Council of Architecture — all three regulators under HRD purview and hence the ministry is best placed to coordinate issues,

There is considerable history to the issue. The HRD ministry has not had the most cordial relationship with SPA regulator Council of Architecture in the past few years, developing differences over mainly over its functioning and alleged lack of transparency