NEW DELHI: Asserting that dialogue is the key to avoid agitations, HRD minister Prakash Javadekar today said education is not a subject for party politics, as he replaces Smriti Irani who had a controversy-ridden tenure.
Speaking to reporters here, Javadekar said he was open to suggestions and consultations with everyone. He lauded the “good initiatives” taken by Irani and said he will also speak to her to take them forward.
“I am a product of student agitation, so we will always talk with everybody. So with dialogues in place, there will be no necessity of agitation,” Javadekar said.
Irani’s tenure was marked by controversies including JNU row and protests in Hyderabad University following dalit scholar Rohith Vemula’s death. There have also been allegations by opposition parties of saffronisation.
“I accept this (new) responsibility humbly and I will talk to our earlier minister Murli Manohar Joshi,” he said.
Joshi, a former BJP president, is now part of Margdarshak Mandal.
The HRD minister said he believes that education should be student-centric and encourage innovation.
On the new education policy, which is being formulated by the HRD ministry currently, Javadekar said it needs to become more relevant and “we have to make our education system more innovative”.
He emphasized that standard of education has to be raised.
Asked about his elevation as a Cabinet minister, Javadekar said that for taking the responsibility of HRD ministry, “you need to have a Cabinet minister. So it is a technical requirement.”
Speaking about his handling of the Environment and Forests Ministry, Javadekar said that he had always worked to empower tribals and any criticism on these aspects is misplaced.
Asked about reports of Congress’ planned agitation on the alleged dilution of Forest Rights Act, Javadekar retorted with an apparent jibe at Rahul Gandhi, asking “Has their leader returned? I don’t know. That is their internal issue.”
He added that while political parties have a right to put forth their views and agitate, but “there is no case for any agitation (on this issue) as of now”. Javadekar was present today when his successor Anil Madhav Dave took charge of Environment Ministry.
The officials of the Ministry had organized an event for Javadekar’s farewell and to welcome the new minister.
“We work passionately. This is not giving any number to any minister. The whole team led by Narendra Modi called Team India is passionate and has brought a change in governance of the country. As HRD ministry requires Cabinet rank, that’s why I was promoted,” he said.
Javadekar said that he was part of JP movement and had gone to jail.
“I was also a member of the senate of Pune University for 12 years while as deputy chairman of state planning commission in Maharashtra, I had laid emphasis on education,” he said, adding, “I have passion for education and have worked in it.”
Asked about controversies surrounding the HRD Ministry, he said that education is a national agenda and not a party agenda and everybody will work together for it.
He said that the main priority for him would be to improve the quality of education and termed it as a challenge.–PTI