According to minutes of the retreat of vice-chancellors chaired by HRD Minister Smriti Irani in Chandigarh, the “Single Act for Central Universities has been circulated to all central universities for inviting their suggestions.”
The draft bill is based on recommendations of the AM Pathan committee and has been criticised for compromising the autonomy of these universities.
There are currently 40 central universities under the Ministry, of which 16 were created in 2009 under one Act, while the rest are governed by separate Acts of Parliament. In spite of such huge number, there was no concensus on a central norms for the universities. The Ministry, however is keen to evolve a concensus, but the questions of autonomy need to be addressed too.
Officials said the idea behind a single legislation is to bring in “greater uniformity” in terms of structure and governance, even while retaining the universities’ academic autonomy. To “expedite the process” of appointments and ensure that the selection process is not upheld due to the unavailability of one nominee, the Ministry has decided to propose five names as Visitor’s nominees for selection committees, as against the one it proposes now.
The Ministry has also directed the V-Cs to form a committee to prepare a proposal to convert posts of professor and associate professor to assistant professor. The committee will have to prepare a report and submit it to UGC in a month’s time.
Universities have also been asked to send all MoUs signed by them in the last 20-25 years to the Ministry within one month.