Tamil Nadu Opposes Higher Education Commission Bill, Says No To Scrapping UGC
Tamil Nadu strongly opposed the draft Bill on setting up a Higher Education Commission and wanted the existing arrangement with the University Grants Commission (UGC) at the helm to continue.
The move to replace UGC with HECI, which was described as "a landmark decision" by Union HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar, is now facing criticisms from Tamil Nadu Government. Tamil Nadu today strongly opposed the Centre's draft Bill on setting up a Higher Education Commission of India (HECI) and wanted the existing arrangement with the University Grants Commission (UGC) at the helm to continue.
Chief Minister EK Palaniswami said in a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi that the existing institutional arrangement of the UGC with both regulatory and financial powers is functioning well while adding that the Tamil Nadu government was of the view that there was no need to disband the UGC and replace it with the Higher Education Commission of India with only regulatory powers.
However, the ministry clarified later that it has not taken any final decision regarding the fund granting powers of HECI, according to a draft prepared by HRD Ministry, the proposed HECI would focus solely on academic matters and monetary grants would be the purview of the ministry.
"Less government and more governance, separation of grant functions, end of inspection raj, focus on academic quality, powers to enforce compliance to the academic quality standards and to order closure of sub-standard and bogus institutions are some of the highlights of the new act," the draft says.
The HRD Ministry had sought suggestions from all stake holders regarding the proposed move.
"The present system, where University Grants Commission is entrusted with the responsibilities of maintaining, monitoring and improving the standards of teaching and research in Higher Educational Institutions and also with the power of sanctioning funds under various schemes has been in vogue since 1956 without any complaints," the letter reads.
"The UGC has the required capacity for objective evaluation of proposals received and to sanction funds in atransparent manner", Tamil Nadu CM said, adding its financial powers are an additional enabling mechanism for the body to ensure implementation of its recommendations.
"In the now proposed draft bill, the financial powers are, however, proposed to be transferred to the Ministry of Human Resources Development or some other body", Mr. Palaniswami wrote in the letter said.
Voicing the government's strong "reservations and apprehensions over the move, Mr. Palaniswami said "our experience of sanction of funds...by various ministries based on merits to Tamil Nadu has not been very positive."
"If this financial power is taken over by the MHRD, we apprehend that the funding pattern would change from 100 percent funding to 60:40 ratio between the Government of India and the state government."
For such reasons, the Tamil Nadu government "strongly opposes the draft Bill on Higher Education Commission of India (Repeal of University Grants Commission Act) Act 2018 and request that the present institution of University Grants Commission may kindly be continued."
Text of the D.O. letter dated 14.7.2018 of Thiru Edappadi K.Palaniswami, Hon'ble Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu addressed- Edappadi K Palaniswami (@CMOTamilNadu) July 14, 2018
to Shri Narendra Modi, Hon'ble Prime Minister of India. pic.twitter.com/Qtdb5wDsf3
Tamil Nadu CM also requested a positive response to his view from the Centre.
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