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'No need to disband UGC,' says Tamil Nadu CM K Palaniswami, opposing Centre's Higher Education Commission Bill

Tamil Nadu chief minister Edappadi K Palaniswami has expressed ‘strong’ opposition to the Centre’s draft Bill on Higher Education Commission of India (HECI), which would replace the existing University Grants Commission (UGC).

Palaniswami wrote a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday saying that the existing institutional arrangement of UGC with regulatory and financial powers is functioning well.

 No need to disband UGC, says Tamil Nadu CM K Palaniswami, opposing Centres Higher Education Commission Bill

File image of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi k Palaniswamy. PTI

According to NDTV, the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) later clarified that the final decision regarding fund granting powers of HECI hasn’t been taken yet.

The proposed HECI would focus on academic quality and monetary grants.

"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.

Palaniswami’s letter said there was no requirement for dissolving the UGC and substituting it with HECI, with only regulatory powers.

“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 the proposals received and sanction funds in a transparent manner. The financial powers are an additional enabling mechanism for University Grants Commission to ensure implementation of its recommendations,” said Paliniswami.

Tamil Nadu government has strong apprehensions over the draft bill since, he said, it will transfer financial powers to MHRD.

“Further, if this financial power is taken over by MHRD, we apprehend that the funding pattern would change from 100 percent funding to 60:40 ratio between Government of India and the State Government,” the letter said.

Palaniswami has also requested a positive response from the Centre.

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Updated Date: Jul 15, 2018 10:18:21 IST

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