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UGC can’t be easily junked: Education secretary

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SN MohantyAfter the controversy raised by a panel set up by HRD minister Smriti Z Irani to review the working of the University Grants Commission (UGC), which said that UGC is a failure and therefore must be scrapped; Education Secretary SN Mohanty first said the ministry has not yet examined the report of the panel set up to suggest ways to revamp and restructure the regulator. “We are yet to go through the report much less analyse it,” he said, adding that the UGC cannot be unilaterally scrapped since it was created by an Act of Parliament.

Headed by former UGC chairperson Hari Gautam, the report talks of scrapping UGC and said, “It was felt that there was a necessity to create a new regulatory agency in place of the existing UGC. It seems to be the only alternative to achieve the desired objective rather than get entangled into repairing or re-engineering the present system.”

In page 84, the report highlighted, “It was felt that any reshaping or restructuring of UGC shall be more or less a futile attempt. Likewise any effort to amend the existing UGC Act shall be redundant exercise.” It further said, “Instead, the committee has therefore proposed that another autonomous powerful regulatory body in the name of National Higher Education Authority be created in place of present UGC.”

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Furthermore, the report said: “Until such time the new Act of National Higher Education Authority is enacted by Parliament, the committee decided not to leave the present UGC as such but considered it necessary to revamp and remodel it into a changed organization with much improved functions.”

A member of the committee said, “Considering the decline of UGC in the last three years, it is imperative that the change should be immediate.”

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