Amidst the row over the Government's plan to replace UGC with HECI, HRD Ministry, yesterday, released a press note justifying it's stance. The major point of contention over HECI is that it paves way for the government to disperse grant money to university directly. Up until now, the grants are released to universities via UGC, which is a statutory body under the Ministry of Human Resource Development.
The letter clarifies that the Ministry has not made any final decisions about the grant giving power to the Ministry.
The letter reads, "The Ministry of HRD has clarified that no such final decision has yet been taken to shift the grant function to the Ministry...," and goes on to add that "the recommendation about separating the Regulator and grant-giving entity has been made by many an expert committee in the past, and is rooted in sound principles of Governance."
The letter also affirms that the grant giving process will be completely merit-based, "unbiased and impartial".
The government has already introduced other funding schemes like IMPRINT, which funds research initiatives in the field of engineering and technology, and RUSA, which provides funding to eligible state higher education institutes.
What is the uproar around HECI?
HECI or Higher Education Commission of India Act, 2018 is set to replace UGC Act of 1956. The government recently uploaded a draft bill on MHRD website and invited comments and suggestions from all stakeholders.
Since then many parties, which will be directly affected by the replaced bill, have been restless. One of the major issues is that the government has given barely 10 days to the stakeholders to respond which, according to many, is unfair.
DUTA had condemned the move in a press statement and said that the new Act will only increase government' interference in the academic institutes. Similar sentiments were heard from other academicians and teacher bodies around the country.
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