The minister of higher education and technical education of Maharashtra, Uday Samant on Sunday, questioned the University Grants Commission's (UGC) guidelines on exams, saying that coronavirus had entered "safe spaces" like Raj Bavan and also infected veteran actor Amitabh Bachchan.
Samant, in a Twitter post written in Marathi, said: "Corona in Raj Bhavan .. Corona to Amitabhji .. Corona was able to reach such a safe place .. Will HRD and UGC agree now that conducting exams is playing with the lives of students .. Will Bhushan Patwardhan side with Maharashtra now ??"
Last month, the Maharashtra government cancelled the final year and final semester exams in various universities due to the rising coronavirus cases in the state but said candidates willing to appear for tests could inform their respective institutions in writing.
On Sunday, after the Delhi government also decided to cancel all upcoming semester and final year exams in all the state government-run universities, the UGC said that it was not permissible for states to take such actions.
"As per the UGC Act, State governments cannot take this decision. Unlike school education, which is on the State list, higher education is on the concurrent list. UGC and AICTE directives have to be implemented," Higher Education Secretary Amit Khare told The Hindu.
The University Grants Commission (UGC) on July 6 had announced that final-year examinations in universities will have to be organised by the end of September, deferring the schedule from July in view of a spike in Covid-19 cases in the country.
Earlier, in a letter to Human Resource Development Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’, Samant said that the new UGC, guidelines on exams should be “advisory” not “mandatory”.
Several states have termed the guidelines unfeasible in view of the Covid-19 situation and some chief ministers have also written to Prime Minister Modi seeking his intervention.