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.
Under the leadership of PM @narendramodi has embarked on a process of reforms of the regulatory agencies for better administration of the HE sector. In a landmark decision, a draft Act for repeal of #UGC & setting up #HECI (Higher Education Commission of India) has been prepared.
— Prakash Javadekar (@PrakashJavdekar) June 27, 2018
My appeal to all educationists, stakeholders & others to furnish their comments & suggestions by 7th july 2018 till 5 p.m & mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. The draft Act is available at https://t.co/mWtT2IORIk @ugc_india @HRDMinistry #SaafNiyatSahiVikas — Prakash Javadekar (@PrakashJavdekar) June 27, 2018
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.
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
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Updated Date: Jul 06, 2018 11:56:17 IST