The current government, in a rather surprising move, has motioned to take away the responsibility for overlooking architecture education in India from the Human Resources Development (or HRD) or HRD Ministry and has instead decided that it should be assigned to the Ministry of Urban Development. This was a decision taken despite the fact that the Human Resource Development Ministry had been clear in their opposition of this same proposal which was brought up during the Cabinet Secretariat meeting held in the month of February. This discussion was attended by the now retired VS Oberoi, the former Higher Education Secretary.
What is Being Done
This move has been subsequently spoken about in communication from the office of the Cabinet Secretary to both of the ministries, this past week. This change will formally go on to be notified in the form of an amendment which will be added to the 1961 Allocation of Business Rules. This is the document which clearly lists out the tasks of each and every ministry in sync with the Union Government.
Sources who were familiar with the matter also mentioned the deletion of the 1972 Architects Act, which is in sync with the Department of Higher Education as a part of the AOB Rules. This law would go on to provide for the registration of all architects in a standardised form, which would maintain conformance, recognize qualifications appropriately and also would set down the right degrees of practice which need to be collated to by all practicing architects. With this Act, named quite aptly the Architects Act, The HRD Ministry would have no part in the regulation of all architectural education. This was previously done by the ministry through its Council of Architecture (or CoA).
The justification for this decision being made was put forth by saying that education in architecture would be best looked after if it is under the eyes of a body that is a direct proponent of this subject and its discipline. An interesting point to note is that there has been a fierce battle over turf that has been raging between the All India Council of Technical Education (AICTE) and the CoA, the former being supported by the HRD Ministry.
The CoA has interfered, according to accusations by the HRD Ministry, in education in the architectural sector to a level that is greatly beyond the limits of its directive and has in this activity overstepped onto the position of the AICTE. The AICTE is in fact the body who is responsible for maintaining the levels and quality of technical educational fields which includes architecture. The ministry has clearly said that the CoA was manifested as a part of the Architects Act with only the aim of providing for registration of all architects and any matters relating to the same.
In an effort to address these transgressions alleged by the HRD ministry, they had themselves put forward a Bill which proposes revision to the Architects Act in the Rajya Sabha in the year 2010. This was done to grant the HRD ministry the permission to take control of the Council in the event that they do in fact overstep their mandate and brief and make aggressive moves beyond their mandate.