ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Subsidies in Higher Education

GOVINDA RAO (1993) while replying to my criticism [Tilak 1993a] on his paper [Rao 1992] avoided important questions raised by me, concentrated on trivial and non-controversial issues, side-tracked the main issues and in all tried to mislead the readers. I wish to argue with Rao in the columns of the Weekly, for the policy issues raised by Rao are of crucial importance for the whole economy and its future; the paper is authored by an established researcher(s), comes from a respectable academic institute, published in an esteemed journal, and above all, it was originally commissioned by the union finance minister for policy use. Let me, however, briefly take up only the issues raised in the 'reply' by Rao. At the outset I may mention that 1 have raised four questions in my comment: (i) the reliability and relevance of the data source, and of the corresponding estimates on cost recovery in higher education, (ii) the base for 'economic pricing' of higher education, (iii) Rao's wisdom on the policy prescription to raise the rate of cost recovery to 50 per cent, and (iv) its superiority over other measures. Rao's response to none of these questions is satisfactory: on question (i) he seems to feel that the accounts presented to the state legislature and audited by the comptroller and auditor-general cannot but be right, and hence his estimates should also be right; on question (ii) Rao's 'economic pricing' means no more than 'fixing proper fees'; on question (iii) Rao did not bother to discuss on the quantum of cost recovery, or the recovery rate; he only tried to argue the need for (increased) cost recovery, with which one may not have much disagreement; and he says little oh question (iv) but for passing quick judgments.

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