By Rajiv Shukla
NEW DELHI : On July 26 HRD minister Prakash
Javadekar played backfoot to duck blunt supplementary
questions on the proposed Jio Institute issue and
categorically said that that "Jio Institute has not been
declared an 'Institution of Eminence'."
He said that Jio has only been given "a letter of intent
on the recommendation of Empowered Expert Committee
(EEC)" and added that it has been given subject to
The reply was given by the minister while replying to a
starred question in Rajya Sabha during Question Hour.
Several members sought clarity on the criteria on the
basis of which the prestigious title was conferred on
The institutes which were chosen were Indian
Institute of Science, Bangalore, Indian Institute of
Technology, Delhi, and Indian Institute of Technology,
He said the Birla Institute of Technological Sciences,
Pilani, Manipal Academy of Higher Education, Manipal,
and Jio Institute were recommended for issuance of
letter of intent. He clarified that Rs. 1000 cr. grant
will be given only to public institutions and no funds
will be given to private institutions under Institute of
Explaining the policy he said that the University Grants
Commission (UGC) notified the UGC (Declaration of
Government Educational Institutions as Institutions of
Eminence) Guidelines, 2017 for public institutions and
UGC (Institutions of Eminence Deemed to be Universities)
Regulations, 2017 for private institutions for setting
up / upgrading of 20 institutions (10 from public sector
& 10 from private sector) as world class teaching and
research institutions called ‘Institutions of Eminence’
(IoEs). The Regulations inter-alia provide for
Greenfield category as well.
Accordingly, applications were invited through UGC’s
notification dated 13th September, 2017 from existing
Government Institutions and existing Private Institution
along with from Sponsoring Organizations who want to set
up new Institutions of Eminence Deemed to be University.
He said 114 applications – 74 from public sector and 40
from private sector, including 11 applications in the
Greenfield projects were received.
These applications were entrusted to an Empowered Expert
Committee (EEC) constituted for this purpose. The EEC,
after thorough examination of applications and
presentations made by the institutions, made its
recommendations to UGC.
The Institutions were recommended and approved by the
EEC and the UGC based on their detailed fifteen year
strategic vision plan and a five year rolling
implementation plan viz. Academic Plan, Faculty
Recruitment Plan, Students Admission plan, Research
Plan, Networking Plan, Infrastructure development Plan,
Finance Plan, Administrative Plan, Governance Plan, etc.
with clear annual milestones and action plans on how the
Institutions of Eminence Deemed to be Universities are
to be set up, with identifiable outputs and outcomes and
their plan to meet the criteria for attaining the status
of an Institution of Eminence, as mentioned in their
application and presentations made before the EEC.
PhD entry rule
Javadekar pleaded ignorance about a contentious
PhD/MPhil admission rule that was notified in 2016 with
the ministry's approval.
He pleaded ignorance when Rashtriya Janata Dal member
Manoj Jha questioned a UGC regulation that says all
general and quota candidates must score at least 50 per
cent marks in the written entrance test to qualify for
the oral interview.
Virtually all other major entrance tests - even
those governing admissions to the IITs and IIMs - relax
the qualifying marks for Dalit, tribal and OBC students.
"The issue the member has raised - if he shares details,
I will enquire and do justice," Javadekar said.
The UGC website says the regulation was "published
on 13-7-2016", which is eight days after Javadekar took
over charge of the ministry from Smriti Irani.
Another controversial clause in the regulation, not
raised by Jha is that it makes the viva voce the sole
determinant for admission, which critics say puts
candidates from the villages and weaker sections at a
MHRD raises 'replace UGC' bogey again
By Sanjiv Dube
NEW DELHI: On June 27, Human Resource Development
(HRD) Ministry once again raised the "replace UGC"
bogey -- almost at the fag-end of the BJP government's
term in office.
As if to show that it really means business, the
ministry hoasted a
draft of the proposed Higher Education
Commission of India (HECI) Act, 2018 (Repeal of
University Grants Commission Act, 1956) inviting suggestions
from state-holders at firstname.lastname@example.org by 5
pm on July 7, 2018.
The monsoon session of Parliament starts on July 18 and
the government has a backlog of 68 bills pending in Lok
Sabha and 40 in the Rajya Sabha. In fact Minister of
State for Parliamentary Affairs Vijay Goel met former
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh recently to seek
support for the legislative agenda. The 18-sitting
session will conclude on August 10.
Experts on legislative matters told this
correspondent that with important bills like the Muslim
Marriage (Protection of Marriage Rights) Bill, 2017;
Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, 2017; Constitution
(123rd Amendment) Bill, 2017, and Prevention of
Corruption (Amendment) Bill, 2013 lined up for passage
MHRD has little chance to squeeze in its agenda.
Besides, the monsoon session also needs to replace six
ordinances with Acts: Fugitive Economic Offenders
Ordinance; Criminal Law (Amendment) Ordinance;
Commercial Courts, Commercial Division and Commercial
Appellate Division of HCs (Amendment) Ordinance;
Homoeopathy Central Council (Amendment) Ordinance;
National Sports University Ordinance; Insolvency and
Bankruptcy Code (Amendment) Ordinance.
move to reform, or to replace, the higher education
regulator has been going on since Kapil Sibal days in
the Congress regime, that is for over five years.
Both the UPA and the NDA regimes have come up with their
own drafts to 'replace' UGC but the chemistry of the
Parliament gave them little leeway. Moreover Sibal's
successors -- M.M. Pallam Raju, Smriti Irani and Prakash
Javadekar -- have been political pygmies -- with little
capacity to move the Parliament.
The latest move came to light on June 27 when the
ministry announced a draft Act to replace the
UGC according to which the proposed Higher Education Commission of India
(HECI) will focus
solely on academic matters while monetary grants would be
decided and disbursed by the Ministry. It will be called the Higher Education Commission
of India (HECI) Act, 2018 (Repeal of University Grants
proposed Act would be given teeth to enforce academic standards, order the
closure of sub-standard and bogus institutions, even
The government was earlier planning a single regulator
to replace the regulators for technical education,
teacher training and the UGC. However, it has since
decided to strengthen the higher education regulator.
“The current commission remains preoccupied with
disbursing funds to institutes and is unable to
concentrate on other key areas such as mentoring
institutes, focusing on research to be undertaken and
other quality measures required in the sector,” said
Higher Education Secretary B. Subramanyam. The new commission will be tasked with
specifying learning outcomes for higher education
courses, and prescribe standards of teaching,
assessment, and research, according to the draft.
The UGC has been criticised in the past, especially for
what has been seen as its restrictive regime. The
Professor Yash Pal committee, in 2009, recommended an
education regulator to rid the higher education sector
of red tape.
The HECI will be a 14-member body having a chairman, a
vice-chairman, three central government secretaries, the
AICTE and teacher education council chairpersons, two
members from accreditation bodies, two serving
vice-chancellors, two professors and one doyen of
For the first time there will be an advisory council to
be chaired by the Union HRD minister.
A senior official of the MHRD said that UGC staff would
be retrained to adapt to the HECI regime, which will be
fully digital and would do away with file work.
Varsities to have dept-wise vacancy roster
NEW DELHI : The government has reportedly asked
the University Grants Commission (UGC) to make a
department-wise roster of teacher vacancies reserved for
scheduled caste and scheduled tribe candidates, instead
of the current norm of having an institution-wise table,
officials familiar with the matter said.
Giving details about the order by the Human Resource
Development Ministry (MHRD), officials who refused to be
named, said on March 1 that the move is based on a Allahabad
High Court judgment in
Vivekanand Tiwari and anr. Vs
Union Of India and 5 Ors delivered on April
In its order the Allahabad high court had
struck down a UGC circular prescribing institution-wise
reservation to fill vacant faculty positions and asked
the UGC to "examine all aspects referred to in judgments
of the Apex Court and submit its recommendations to the
Ministry of Human Resource Development for its
consideration and appropriate decision."
Petitioners Vivekanand Tiwari and others of Benaras
Hindu University (BHU) had applied for the post of
Assistant Professor in the Central university in their
respective disciplines. The petitioners noticed that the
reservation applied by the University was by way of
treating the University as a 'Unit' and the posts of the
Professor, Associate Professor, Reader and Assistant
Professor as single cadre at each level in the
According to the petitioners the reservation for the
Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward
Classes ought to have been applied by treating the posts
of different levels in each subject/department as a
'Unit' and not the whole University as a 'Unit'. The
High Court upheld their contention and struck down a UGC
circular prescribing institution-wise reservation to
fill vacant faculty positions.
The judgement was subsequently challenged in the Supreme
Court before the Vacation Bench comprising Justices
R.K.Agrawal and Sanjay Kishan Kaul, on June 16, 2017
which issued notice returnable in four weeks.
The apex court bench upheld the high court order later,
prompting the UGC to send a proposal to the HRD
ministry stating that the number of reserved posts in
SC/ST and other backward class categories should be done
department-wise. The ministry asked the UGC to go ahead
with its proposal.
A university is treated as a single unit for
calculating the number of faculty from reserved
categories. For instance, during listing of all teaching
posts of the same grade and across departments are
clubbed together to decide the quota. But with the new
rule, each department in a varsity would be treated as a
Experts, however, called the move a retrograde step.
A former secretary in the central government, said if
there is a single vacancy, it will preclude the
possibility of quota.
“It is because of this problem the government had
come with a formula of bunching together similar posts
with similar pay scales, qualifications, and so
reservation became possible. Usually in a department
there would be a single vacancy and reservation would
not be possible on a single position,” he said.
He pointed out that the move will reduce the number
of posts for SC/ST and socially and educationally
backward classes significantly. “They are poorly
represented everywhere already … So in an educational
system their presence is the lowest at the university
level,” he said.
Government data shows there are 16,600 sanctioned posts
for teachers in central universities in India. Of these,
5,928 posts are vacant.
NET need relaxed to fill up vacant lecturers'
From Our Correspondent
NEW DELHI : The government has relaxed the mandatory
National Eligibility Test (NET) in order to fill up
faculty vacancies in degree colleges and universities.
Now those who completed a Ph.D or registered for one
before 2009 would be eligible for lectureship without
clearing the NET.
The HRD minister Smriti Irani announced on April 12 2016 that
the move will help create a larger talent pool for
teaching jobs. Women researchers will get more time to
complete their research — an additional year for MPhil
and two more for PhD — along with maternity leave
benefits, she said.
At present, a student who has a postgraduate degree or
an MPhil and has cleared the NET/ SET (state-level
eligibility test) is eligible for lectureship in a
college or university. If the student fails to clear the
eligibility test but has an M.Phil degree, he or she can
teach in a college, but not a university.
If a student does a Ph.D in accordance with University
Grants Commission regulations, such as publication of
research papers and presentations in
seminars/conferences, he or she is eligible for the post
of assistant professor in any college or university.
In 2009, the UGC made NET and a PhD the minimum
eligibility criteria for the post of assistant professor
in colleges and universities.
On April 12, the ministry gave the go-ahead to the
commission to exempt such students from NET/SET for
teaching jobs in universities and other educational
However, students will have to fulfil a number of
conditions, including that the PhD is offered in regular
mode and researchers have published papers as part of
The ministry and the UGC did not have a specific figure
on the number of beneficiaries but officials said the
decision would benefit hundreds of thousands of aspiring
teachers who were so far ineligible as they could not
clear the NET or SET.
“There has been a long-standing challenge faced by
researchers/aspiring teachers. The UGC today in
conjunction with the government has taken this
decision,” Irani said.
UGC chairman Ved Prakash said the move would create a
greater pool of eligible candidates for recruitment as
assistant professors. It would also address the shortage
of faculty in educational institutions, he said.
Irani said female students would be given maternity
leave of 240 days that would be excluded from the
duration of their research. They would also be given
eight years compared to the existing six for completing
their Ph.D and three years to complete their M.Phil
instead of two. The same benefits will be provided to
people with disability.
Also, in case of relocation of a female MPhil/PhD
scholar due to marriage or other reasons, research data
will be allowed to be transferred to the university to
which the scholar intends to relocate provided other
conditions are met.
Granting more freedom to autonomous institutions and to
incentivise quality education, the UGC and the ministry
have done away with mandatory inspection of such
institutes, nor will they require a no-objection
certificate from the state. An autonomous college has
academic autonomy to design its curriculum, prescribe
syllabi and evolve its own pedagogy.
“They will only have to provide an NOC from the
affiliated university and if they are accredited with
the highest grade for two consecutive cycles, they would
be granted autonomous status,” Irani said.
to stay, Hari Gautam report shelved
By Sanjiv Dube
NEW DELHI : Falling prey to a tricky news report on
April 1, All Fool's Day, the HRD Ministry
confirmed that the University Grants Commission will
Newspaper reporters at time run a negative report to get
a positive reaction from politicians and the government
and the HRD ministry unfortunately succumbed to this
trick, and in turn, spilt the beans : that the UGC is
here to stay.
It issued a press note dismissing reports about any
suggestion to junk the UGC. The Ministry said that it
had indeed constituted an expert committee under the
chairmanship of former UGC chief Hari Gautam "to
recommend restructuring and strengthening UGC" and that
there was no move to scrap it.
"The mandate given to the Committee was to analyse,
review and recommend to the Ministry, the architecture
required to strengthen the UGC", the press note said and
added that the committee's report is "yet to be examined
in the Ministry."
The most pertinent words were, however, added as suffix
to the statement which said that "The UGC has been
created by an Act of Parliament and cannot be
unilaterally scrapped.” Here lies the catch!
The fact of the matter is that the dissolution of
statutory bodies like the UGC or the All India Council
for Technical Education (AICTE) require parliamentary
approval and the earstwhile UPA 2 and to some extent
present NDA as well have had paliamentry sessions that
can best be described as lame duck.
The UPA government, a Congress-led coalition, carried
all the attributes of an unsuccessful coalition. The
result was that despite all his wit, wisdom and
intention the then HRD minister Kapil Sibal, could not
get a number of cardinal bills through.
Commission on Higher Education and Research (NCHER) Bill
2010 is a glaring example of Kapil Sibal's failure
and the bill, a valourous example to abolish the UGC and
the AICTE died a painful death four years later.
okays uniform staffing pattern in varsities
NEW DELHI: The Ministry of Human Resource
Development (MHRD) has, in principle, accepted the
recommendations of a committee set up to suggest a
uniform staffing system in universities.
A MHRD official said on October 5 that once the new
recommendations are in place an assistant registrar of a
university with grade pay of Rs 6,600 will become
eligible for promotion to the post of deputy registrar
on completing five years of his/her service, instead of
Similarly a deputy registrar of a university would be
designated a joint registrar on completion of five years
of his or her service.
A joint cadre review committee was set up by the
University Grants Commission (UGC) to suggest measures
on uniform staffing pattern, service conditions and
other issues of non-teaching staff in universities and
colleges. The panel submitted three report along with
recommendations for 24 non-teaching cadre between
January 1, 2008, and September 23, 2010. The ministry
has approved only some of its recommendations.
“The MHRD has approved the proposal to re-designate such
deputy registrar as joint registrar, with the
stipulation that the post (joint registrar) will revert
as deputy registrar when it falls vacant,” the official
said. So far, deputy registrars on completion of five
years of their services were only eligible for increase
in their pay grade.
The ministry, however, did not agree to extend the
benefits of career advancement scheme to scientific
officers or technical officers. “Instead, modified
assured career scheme will govern their career
progression,” the official said.
With higher education institution facing shortage of
faculty, the ministry permitted utilisation of
university science instrumentation centre professionals
in teaching, in case they do not have any specified
work. But, this would not make them eligible for
extension of academic grade pay and applicability of
career advancement schemes, the ministry said in its
Cap on college affiliation, govt says 200
By Sanjiv Dube
NEW DELHI : The Ministry of Human Resource
Development (MHRD) has, in its effort to provide quality
higher education, asked the states to put a cap on the
number of affiliated colleges, a ministry official said
on August 17, 2014.
The ministry has sent a number of suggestions to the
states to improve academic and administrative excellence
in the university system, including fixing an upper
limit on the number of colleges that state university
ought to affiliate. The MHRD feels 200 is more than
enough and has directed the state higher education
departments to ensure that the state universities do not
affiliate more than 200 colleges falling within their
According to the All India Survey on Higher Education
2010-11 conducted by the MHRD the national average for
college affiliation per university stands at 300.
Individually, Osmania University has the maximum number
of affiliated colleges -- 901 --
while 811 colleges are affiliated to the University of Pune. Rashtrusant Tukadoji Maharaj University, Nagpur has 800
colleges with it and Rajasthan University, Jaipur has
735 colleges while Mumbai
University has 711 colleges attached to them. While
capping affiliations, States will be asked to create
more universities instead.
For Central funding, the States will now have to develop a
comprehensive higher education plan that utilises an
inter-connected strategy to address issues of expansion,
equity and excellence
together. The plan needs to include projected analytical
growth -- number of degrees to be awarded in the next
decade, staff recruitment and research enhancement,
The Ministry will unveil
an ambitious Rs 1 lakh crore Central funding scheme to
administrative and financial reforms of higher education
within States and UTs as part of the Centre’s Rashtriya
Uchattar Shiksha Abhiyan (RUSA).
RUSA is a flagship scheme aimed at providing strategic
funding to States’ higher and technical institutions.
When implemented, it will lead to setting up and upgrade
of colleges and
universities, facilitating higher education for more
students. Other institutions like IITs and NITs are also
granted permission to autonomously award degrees.
Tamil Nadu has the maximum number of 55 public
universities and 29 deemed universities. Andhra Pradesh
has the most State universities (32) and Rajasthan, the
maximum number of
private ones, at 25.
Delhi and Uttar Pradesh have four Central universities
each, the most among all States and Union Territories.
While the oldest established university is that of
Mumbai (1857), the first
institute to be granted deemed university status was the
Indian Institute of Science (IIS) in May 1958.