Centre seeks to replace UGC: Congress' Motilal Vora calls 10-day public consultation process a 'mockery'

Congress MP and former Madhya Pradesh chief minister Motilal Vora expressed his doubts and concerns to Union Human Resource Development Minister Prakash Javadekar over the public consultation process for the Higher Education Commission for India draft Bill, which seeks to replace the University Grants Commission.

In a letter dated 5 July, Vora wrote that according to the Pre-Legistlative Consultative Policy, a minimum period of 30 days must be provided for public consultation on a draft Bill. "In the case of the HECI Bill, you tweeted about it on 27th June, 2018,  and have provided time till 7th July, 2018, i.e. merely 10 days for citizens to respond to concerns on a Bill with such wide ranging impact that affects the entire higher education of India," the MP wrote.

"It is unfortunate, but this amounts to making a mockery of the process of public consultation," Vora added.

Last week, the HRD ministry had announced its decision to replace the UGC with the HECI by repealing the UGC Act, 1951. According to the draft, which has been placed in public domain by the ministry to seek feedback from the stakeholders, the new commission will solely focus on academic matters and monetary grants would be under the purview of the ministry.

 Centre seeks to replace UGC: Congress Motilal Vora calls 10-day public consultation process a mockery

Representational image. News18

Less government and more governance, separation of grant-related functions, end of Inspection Raj, powers to enforce compliance with the academic quality standards and to order closure of sub-standard and bogus institutions are some of the highlights of the new Higher Education Commission of India Act, 2018 (Repeal of the University Grants Commission Act).

In his letter to Javadekar, Vora also pointed out that the draft placed in the public domain was only in English, and not any other language. "How will the public consultation process be truly inclusive, unless citizens from all corners of the country are enabled to participate in it?" he asked.

"By bringing out the Draft of the Bill only in English, you have already put in place a barrier, which will exclude many citizens from this consultation exercise," Vora wrote.

The Congress MP requested that the time frame for the public consultation process on the HECI Bill be extended for at least 30 days after the final draft has been published in all major Indian languages.

However, in a press conference on Thursday, Javadekar extend the deadline by 10 days, till 20 July following representations from various quarters. He also lauded the Union Cabinet's decision to expand the scope of the Higher Education Financing Agency (HEFA) by enhancing its capital base to Rs 10,000 crore to meet the rising financial requirements of educational infrastructure in the country.

With inputs from PTI

Your guide to the latest cricket World Cup stories, analysis, reports, opinions, live updates and scores on https://www.firstpost.com/firstcricket/series/icc-cricket-world-cup-2019.html. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram or like our Facebook page for updates throughout the ongoing event in England and Wales.

Updated Date: Jul 06, 2018 11:56:17 IST