UGC has asked all central universities to identify reasons for teaching posts lying vacant and make concerted efforts to fill them up, the Rajya Sabha was informed on Monday. Out of the 16,692 sanctioned post, 6,251 teaching posts are lying vacant. "UGC recently wrote to all central universities to give topmost priority for identifying the causes for the vacancies and make concerted efforts to fill up the vacancies as per UGC norms, at an early date to ensure that the teaching work of the university is not affected," Union human resource minister Smriti Irani said in a written reply. The issue was also discussed prominently in the conference of the vice-chancellors of central universities on February 6 and 7 under the chairmanship of the President, in which they were exhorted to fill up the vacancies in a timebound manner. "As a follow-up, the ministry has written to all V-Cs to implement the decision on a priority and to furnish an action taken report to the ministry," she said. The minister said a task force, constituted under the chairmanship of Sanjay G Dhande to recommend measures for alleviating shortage of qualified faculty in July 2011, had said that shortage of qualified faculty in state and central universities was to the extend of roughly 40 and 35% respectively. The shortage was to the extent of 25% and 40% in deemed universities and affiliated colleges, the minister said.