Govt proposes complete overhaul of UGC, plans to set up single regulator

Paving the way for major reforms, the Narendra Modi government has proposed a new Act, which will help India replace the University Grants Commission (UGC) with an all-powerful higher education body.

The new Act will be called the Higher Education Commission of India Act, 2018 (Repeal of University Grants Commission Act). The Centre has proposed a complete overhaul of UGC and is planning to set up the Higher Education Commission of India (HECI).

The HRD Ministry has asked educationists, the general public and other stakeholders to give comments and suggestions before 5 pm on July 7 on the draft, which has been released on its website. The new Act is likely to be tabled in Parliament during the monsoon session, reported IANS. The draft of the HECI Act, 2018 is likely to repeal the University Grants Commission Act, 1956.

"In a landmark decision, a draft Act for repeal of #UGC & setting up #HECI (Higher Education Commission of India) has been prepared," Union Human Resource Development Minister Prakash Javadekar tweeted.

Under the leadership of PM @narendramodi has embarked on a process of reforms of the regulatory agencies for better administration of the HE sector. In a landmark decision, a draft Act for repeal of #UGC & setting up #HECI (Higher Education Commission of India) has been prepared.

— Prakash Javadekar (@PrakashJavdekar) June 27, 2018

The government was earlier planning a single regulator to oversee technical education, teachers' training and the tasks performed by UGC.

The move stems from the realisation that at present the UGC is preoccupied with disbursing funds to institutes and is unable to concentrate on other key areas such as mentoring institutes, focusing on research to be undertaken and other quality measures required in the sector.

The proposed Higher Education Commission of India would focus solely on academic quality in universities and colleges, and grants would be under the purview of the Ministry of Human Resource Development, according to the draft.

Moreover, there is no plan to merge all higher education regulators, as was proposed through a planned agency called HEERA.

Once the ministry finalises the HECI Act, it will move on to finalising changes in the AICTE Act.

The UGC came into existence on 28 December, 1953. However, it was formally established in November 1956. The current Chairman of the commission is D P Singh. 

The UGC has been criticised in the past, especially for what has been seen as its restrictive regime. The Professor Yash Pal committee, in 2009, recommended an education regulator to rid the higher education sector of red tape.
With input agencies

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