HRD Ministry Proposes Two New Commissions

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The HRD minister stated that there would be two commissions – one for providing grants and the other for carrying out regulatory functions

After members raised concerns over the future of UGC, the HRD minister told the Parliament that there would be two commissions – one for providing grants and the other for carrying out regulatory functions, in order to bring more efficiency to the educational system.

Dual functions

In a draft bill released by the Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry, it was proposed that a Higher Education Commission of India (HECI) would replace the existing higher education regulator, University Grants Commission (UGC). There would be two commissions – one for providing grants and the other for carrying out regulatory functions. That is the whole idea presented by the HRD ministry.

The HRD Minister said that the ministry is in the process of finalisation of the draft Higher Education Commission of India Bill, 2018 based on suggestions/ comments received from various stakeholders. He also informed the Lok Sabha that the government had received over 10,000 suggestions from various quarters of the society.

Transparent and merit-based approach

The grant disbursal function to universities and colleges is now proposed to be located in an entity which works in a transparent, merit-based approach through an ICT (Information and Communication Technology) enabled platform.

Earlier, the decision to invest the power of awarding grants to an advisory council headed by the Union Minister for HRD was heavily criticised by the academic community on the grounds that it would result in politicisation.

Rights of states would not be impugned with the creation of the new body while adding that there would not be any change at all in existing reservations for OBC, SC and others.

The proposed Higher Education Commission of India will focus largely on promoting the quality of academic instruction, maintenance of academic standards and grant of autonomy of higher educational institutions.