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UPA misses vice-chancellor bus

President Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh flanked by Union ministers MM Pallam Raju and Shashi Tharoor at the conference of vice-chancellors of central universities at Rashtrapati Bhavan on Thursday. (PTI)

New Delhi, Feb. 6: The UPA government is unlikely to appoint vice-chancellors for 12 new central universities because of procedural delay.

The tenure of the vice-chancellors of these central universities ends on March 1. These include central universities in Kashmir, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha, Gujarat, Punjab and Rajasthan.

The others are Hari Singh Gour University, Madhya Pradesh, Guru Ghasidash University, Chhattisgarh and Hemvati Nandan Bahuguna Garhwal University in Uttarakhand.

The human resource development ministry had initiated the process of appointing the vice-chancellors in October and published advertisements seeking applications. About 500 academicians have applied.

However, according to the Central Universities Act, 2009, the ministry has to set up a search-cum-selection panel for each university comprising five experts — three nominated by the university concerned and two recommended by the Visitor, the President.

The ministry normally sends a list of experts to the Visitor so that two can be picked as nominees for each selection committee.

The universities had sent their nominations before October, sources in the ministry said. The ministry, however, delayed preparing the list of experts who could be considered as the Visitor’s nominees. It sent a list of 48 experts to the President’s secretariat only on Tuesday.

Sources said the President would choose 24 experts from the list for the 12 search panels. The search panels will examine the applications and suggest names of five persons for the post of vice-chancellor for each university. The names will again be sent to the Visitor who will pick one from among the five and appoint him or her as the vice-chancellor.

The sources said by the time the selection panels suggest the names, the Election Commission would have announced the schedule for the general election. In that case, the appointment of the vice-chancellors is unlikely to happen because the model code of conduct for the elections would have come into force, they said, adding that the next government would have to appoint the VCs.

If the appointment process is delayed, the incumbent vice-chancellors will automatically get an extension for six months.