Higher Education – RUSA, NIRF, HEFA, etc.

HRD Ministry to be renamed as ‘Education Ministry’


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: HRD Ministry revamp, National Education Policy 2020

Mains level: National Education Policy 2020

The Union Cabinet has approved the renaming of the Ministry of Human Resource Development (HRD) to the Ministry of Education to more clearly define its work and focus.

Before reading this newscard, try this PYQ from CSP 2019:

Q.The Ninth Schedule was introduced in the Constitution of India during the Prime Ministership of:

(a) Jawaharlal Nehru

(b) Lal Bahadur Shastri

(c) Indira Gandhi

(d) Morarji Desai

A flip-back

  • With the renaming, the Ministry got back the name that it had started out with after Independence, but which was changed 35 years ago when Rajiv Gandhi was Prime Minister.

Who were some of India’s early Education Ministers?

  • The Ministry which was focussed on education from the primary classes to the level of the university was headed by some of the stalwarts of Indian politics in its early years.
  • For more than a decade after Independence, the Ministry was led by Maulana Abul Kalam Azad.
  • He was followed by Kalulal Shrimali and the eminent jurist M C Chagla, with the poet-educationist Humayun Kabir holding the portfolio for a short while in between.
  • Later Education Ministers of India included Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed, who went on to become President.
  • The last Education Minister of India was KC Pant, who served in the post in 1984-85, after which the name of the Ministry was changed.

Under what circumstances did the Ministry of Education become HRD?

  • Upon becoming PM in 1984, Rajiv Gandhi, who had surrounded himself with a new crop of advisers, showed restlessness for change and innovation in a number of areas.
  • He accepted a suggestion that all departments related to education should be brought under one roof.
  • There was some opposition from academic circles who complained that the country no longer had a Department with ‘education’ in its name. Some newspapers wrote editorials criticizing the change of name.
  • But the decision had been made, and subsequently, in 1986, the government cleared a new education policy – the second in the country’s history, and one that was to survive until now.

Under HRD roof

  • On September 26, 1985, the Ministry of Education was renamed as the Ministry of Human Resource Development, and P V Narasimha Rao was appointed Minister.
  • Related Departments such as those of Culture and Youth & Sports were brought under the Ministry of HRD, and Ministers of State were appointed.
  • Even the Department of Women and Child Development – which became a separate Ministry with effect from January 30, 2006 – was a Department under the Union HRD Ministry.

Were changes made in the Ministry even afterwards?

  • Yes, changes were made from time to time. After Atal Bihari Vajpayee became PM in 1998, the government decided to separate the Department of Culture from the Ministry of HRD.
  • In October 1999, a new Ministry of Culture came into being, with the late Ananth Kumar in charge.
  • The Department of Youth too was separated from the Ministry of HRD, and Ananth Kumar was given charge of this new Ministry as well.
  • With these decisions of the Vajpayee government, the HRD Ministry remained ‘HRD’ only in name – for all practical purposes, it was back to being a ministry for education.

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