“HRD ministry dwarfing UGC”

Blaming the HRD ministry for “dwarfing the University Grants Commission (UGC) and crippling its role in regulation of higher educational institutions”, senior UGC member M M Ansari has said the regulator suffers from ‘internal inefficiency’.

Although a report in a section of media quoted Ansari as saying that though he is not in favour of scrapping UGC, the “Hari Gautam Committee exceeded its brief”. The panel has suggested scrapping of the body.

Pointing out the ‘systemic ills’ that has led to UGC’s decline, Ansari said there are legal flaws in the composition of the Commission, which have not been rectified by the HRD ministry. “Of all the national commissions in the country, UGC is the only one which is functioning without the support of full-time executive members,” he said pointing out further that the service conditions and the roles of executive members have not been prescribed. He also said a few commission members are serving officials of universities or colleges that are funded and regulated by UGC. The government does not see any ‘conflict of interest’ between the UGC and the heads of such institutions, including senior officials of the government sitting as UGC members, he said. “The full Commission, in effect, is not effectively operationalized, as envisioned in the UGC Act,” he said.

Furthermore, Ansari alleged the collusion between the HRD ministry and the UGC in setting up of the deemed universities, that are 130 in number, now. “Sensing the political preference of the successive governments at the Centre, the UGC has from time to time rendered the desirable advice, whenever sought by the HRD ministry for creating such institutions,” he said, asking why there is no policy on establishment and funding of the deemed universities.