Mumbai: Maharashtra Legislative Assembly on Wednesday passed the Maharashtra Unaided Private Professional Education Institutions (Regulation of Admissions and Fees) bill to establish fee and admission regulatory authorities for professional courses run by private colleges.
The bill replaces an ordinance promulgated in May. It covers the private unaided medical, engineering and management colleges, among others. It is yet to be passed by the Legislative Council.
The Fee Regulating Authority (FRA) to be set up under the act will be headed by a retired High Court judge or a retired chief secretary. It will determine fees and have powers to penalise for charging fees in excess.
Concessions given by the government to the college for land, etc., would be considered while determining fees. The bill also lays down that even the 'management quota' seats would be allotted only on merit.
From this academic year, there would be no separate Common Entrance Tests of individual colleges and instead, the Admission Regulation Authority (ARA) headed by a retired High Court judge will conduct a CET for every course.
FRA will have as its members eminent educationists, a chartered accountant, a cost accountant and an expert in the field of professional education apart from senior government officials. The bill also provides for six months' jail term for giving incorrect information, fabricating books of accounts, or increasing fees arbitrarily, etc.
During the discussion in the house, Rajesh Tope of NCP said the bill will bring transparency and stop profiteering.
NCP's Chhagan Bhujbal said privatisation of education sector had yielded good results over the years.
"Just because there are a few bad elements does not mean that the entire system set up by private individuals be destroyed. Provisions of the bill should ensure this does not happen," he said.