Varanasi, Mar 15 (UNI) Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today discarded speculations of an early Lok Sabha election, saying the poll would be held on time.
''It is not correct to link Budget with the upcoming Lok Sabha election,'' Dr Singh said, addressing the 90th convocation of the Banaras Hindu University (BHU) here today during his two-day visit here.
Taking note of the Budget and preparations by various political parties, people were thinking the election would be held before time, but it was not so, the Prime Minister maintained.
''It is sad to note that in order to gain benefit, some political parties mar development work...if there is better management, then no hassles will come in the development process,'' Dr Singh noted.
Expressing concern over the world famous 'Banarasi Saree Industry, he said efforts are being made to waive off the electricity dues of the weavers.
The PM said akin to farmers, declarations would be made in favour of weavers to provide them relief.
The Prime Minister, who addressed the 90th convocation of the BHU, was awarded D Litt (Honoris Causa) degree by the BHU. Besides Dr Singh, famous painter Satish Gujral and eminent historian Irfan Habib were also honoured with the degree.
The Prime Minister awarded 179 Phd, 2,023 postgraduate and 4,252 graduate degrees, totalling 6,454 degrees to meritorious students.
He also presented total 29 medals, including Vice-chancellors and BHU medals for obtaining highest percentage of marks in various subjects.
In his address, Dr Singh said the varsity played an important role during the country's freedom struggle and bringing a new awakening in the society through education.
One hundred years ago, universities were established by the British rulers only, he said, adding the founder of BHU Pt Madan Mohan Malviya understood the importance of modern education and established this great university, where besides modern education, Indian culture, history and traditions were also being taught.
The Prime Minister also stressed the need for the university system to undergo revolutionary changes to improve the quality of the higher education in the country.
''We have to bring about qualitative changes to come at par with the developed nations as far as the higher education is concerned,'' Dr Singh said while India had managed to establish solid and diverse higher education system post-independence but the facts and figures suggested it still lagged far behind the developed nations, Dr Singh pointed out, adding that''we have enough reasons to be proud of our education system, but a lot was still to be done.'' ''The Central government had increased the expenditure on education five fold during the 11th five year plan, but the monetary considerations were only the support mechanism...real thing would be to improve the quality in the education infrastructure,'' the PM said.
Lacing his speech with some statistics, he said only 10 per cent out of the total number of students, eligible to get college education got admissions, while this figure is as high as 40-50 per cent in most of the developed nations.
Furthermore, he said that two third of the universities and 90 per cent of the colleges were below par as far as the quality of education was concerned.
The PM said the common perception was that the curriculum in most of the varsities was not in tune with the employment needs of the youth.
''That is why the revolutionary changes in the universities is need of the hour.'' he noted.
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