MHRD has dropped the provision on grant-awarding power being with the ministry only. It has decided to appoint an expert panel for the function.
July 2018: The Ministry of Human Resource Development has dropped the provision of the UGC Repeal Act draft which states that the grant-awarding power will solely be with the HRD Ministry. The HRD ministry has asked the educationists, stakeholders, and the general public to provide their views on the draft to scrape the University Grants Commission and introduce new Higher Education Commission of India (HECI).
The decision of the ministry to keep the power of awarding grants to an advisory council headed by the Union HRD Minister faced criticism on the grounds that it would lead to politicization.
After criticism from states and stakeholders, MHRD has decided not to keep the authority of awarding grant solely with itself. The ministry will instead form an independent body of experts that will function as the grant-awarding authority.
About UGC Repeal Act 2018 or HECI 2018
On 28th June, MHRD uploaded the HECI 2018 or UGC Repeal Act 2018 draft bill on its official website, inviting suggestions from experts and the general public. As per the bill, the new commission would replace the University Grants Commission and would focus only on the academic matters. The responsibility to award grants would be only with the MHRD.
Another provision of the bill is that the new commission will have the power to close/penalize fake institutes/those which fail to maintain the recommended academic standards. UGC just used to publish the list of fake universities on a timely basis.
After receiving immediate criticism, the MHRD issued a clarification on 2nd July stating that the function of awarding the grants is not final yet.
As reported by the HT, the ministry has received more than 6000 comments and suggestions on the bill. Few changes have also been incorporated in the bill. The last date to submit the suggestions on the bill is 20th July. Earlier, the last date for suggestion submission was 7th July.