India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, while campaigning for the Bharatiya Janata Party in Bavla, Ahmedabad on November 24, during the Gujarat Assembly election, incorrectly claimed that around two decades ago, there was only one university in Ahmedabad district. Modi had also said that the district now had 23 universities, the BJP’s official Twitter account quoted him as saying.
The central Ministry of Education’s records, however, contradict Modi’s claim, our fact check found.
Fact-check: Ahmedabad district had three universities by 2002
The first part of the Prime Minister’s claim stating that there was only one university before 2002 in Ahmedabad district is incorrect, according to Union government records, our fact check shows. There were already three universities – Gujarat University, Gujarat Vidyapith and Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Open University – in the district two decades earlier, according to University Grants Commission records. The UGC, a statutory body under the Ministry of Education, established in 1956, disburses Union government grants and funds to universities.
Gujarat University was established under the Gujarat University Act in 1949, and Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Open University was established in 1994. Both are state universities. Gujarat Vidyapith, established by Mahatma Gandhi in October 1920, was deemed to be a university in 1963. Deemed-to-be universities are higher education institutions which can be declared as such by the Union government, by virtue of doing work of a high standard in a specific area, under Section 3 of the UGC Act, 1956.
|Name of the university
|Year of establishment
|Type of university
| Gujarat University
|Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Open University
The BJP has been in power in Gujarat for the last 27 years (1995-2022), per Election Commission of India records, FactChecker found. Keshubhai Patel, Sureshchandra Mehta, Shankarsinh Vaghela and Dilip Parikh were all BJP chief ministers of Gujarat before Narendra Modi who became chief minister in October 2001. Twenty years back, Modi was in his second year as the chief minister and continued in that position till May 2014. Before the BJP, Gujarat had a Janata Dal-led government from 1990-94, and before 1990, the Congress party formed successive governments in the state.
As for the second part of the prime minister’s claim, UGC records showed that there were 22 universities in Ahmedabad district, as of November 25.
FactChecker also found that 68 (41%) of the 162 sanctioned teaching posts in the Central University of Gujarat in Gandhinagar, the state capital neighbouring Ahmedabad district, were vacant, per a Ministry of Education response in the Rajya Sabha on February 2.
Further, there were 72 vacant posts at Central University of Gujarat in April, 2020, which reduced to 65 in April 2021, but remained virtually static at 64 in April 2022, per this Ministry of Education response given in the Lok Sabha on July 25.
FactChecker contacted the Prime Minister’s Office for comment and clarification on his claim. We also tried contacting Gujarat government’s Principal Secretary of the education department, SJ Haider, via phone and email for an update on vacancies in teaching positions in universities across Gujarat but did not receive a response by the time of publication. We will update the article when we do.
This article first appeared on FactChecker.in, a publication of the data-driven and public-interest journalism non-profit IndiaSpend.