HRD ministry asks Central Universities to ‘proudly’ fly national flag


A file photo of HRD minister Smriti Irani. Photo: Hindustan TimesA file photo of HRD minister Smriti Irani. Photo: Hindustan Times

New Delhi: The human resource development ministry on Thursday told all central universities to fly the national flag.

Flags must fly at a height of 207 feet.

The order comes amid a fierce debate on nationalism, with the ruling party and opposition calling each other “anti-national,” following a controversial student demonstration at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) in New Delhi on 9 February.

The ministry had called for a meeting of central varsities to take stock of the situation following the suicide of Dalit scholar Rohith Vemula in Hyderabad Central University last month.

But even before that controversy settled down, a small group of students were accused of raising “anti-national” slogans in JNU and the university campus raided by the police. The JNU student union president is in judicial custody on sedition charges.

“At a central place at every university, the national flag will be flown prominently and proudly,” said a resolution adopted at a conference of central university vice-chancellors in Surajkund, Haryana. Mint has seen a copy of the resolution.

Human resource development minister Smriti Irani chaired the meeting.

Asked about it, a government official refused to disclose where the proposal on the flag had come from—whether from a university, the ministry or a political organisation.

The official, who declined to be named, said that all central varsities will need to fly the flag at 207 feet height and the weight of the entire flag can be up to 35 kg.

Other than the flag, the central varsities conference decided to implement a better grievance mechanism system, introduce more courses in areas like agriculture and send university administrators for management training at Indian Institutes of Management.

India has over 40 central universities, including JNU, which are funded and governed by the HRD ministry via the University Grants Commission.