No decision on funding authority yet, says HRD ministry

The HRD ministry in a press statement said if there is a successor to the current grant-giving system of the UGC, it will be operated in the “most unbiased and impartial manner”.

education Updated: Jul 02, 2018 23:16 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
HRD ministry,move to scrap UGC,University Grants Commission
The UGC office in New Delhi.(HT Photo)

The human resource development (HRD) ministry on Monday clarified that the final decision on transferring the power to sanction funds to higher educational institutions from the University Grants Commission (UGC) to the ministry, was yet to be taken.

Last week, the ministry had announced its decision to replace the UGC with the Higher Education Commission of India (HECI) by repealing the UGC Act, 1956.

According to the draft, which has been placed in the public domain by the ministry to seek feedback from the stakeholders, the new commission will solely focus on the academic matters and monetary grants would be under the purview of the ministry. However, the move faced criticism.

“Apprehensions regarding the recommended shift of the grant-related functions to the ministry under the proposed HECI Act, 2018 are purely misplaced. No final decision has been taken to shift the grant-related functions to the ministry, even though the recommendation to separate the regulator and the grant-giving entity was made by several expert committees in the past and is rooted in the sound principles of governance,” said a press statement issued by the ministry.

It further said that the grant-giving process will be purely merit-based and online -- an objective system that guarantees transparency and efficiency with the least human interface.

“We promise that if there is a successor to the current grant-giving system of the UGC, it will be operated in the most unbiased and impartial manner,” the press statement said.

Some of the highlights of the proposed Act include less government and more governance, separation of the grant-related functions, end of inspections, focus on academic quality, powers to enforce compliance with the academic quality standards and to order closure of sub-standard and bogus institutions.

The new Act is likely to be tabled in Parliament during the monsoon session, which begins on July 18.

The government was earlier planning to have a single regulator for higher education by merging the UGC, National Council for Teacher Education (NCTE) and All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE).

However, the government decided to strengthen the higher education regulator as it was felt that the UGC remained preoccupied with disbursing funds to institutes and was unable to concentrate on other key areas such as mentoring the institutions and focussing on research to be undertaken.

First Published: Jul 02, 2018 23:15 IST