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UGC sits on institute of eminence shortlist

One eligibility criterion was the net worth of individual sponsors of private institutions must be more than Rs 3,000 crore
The UGC building in Delhi.
The UGC building in Delhi.
Stock photo/ Prem Singh

Basant Kumar Mohanty   |   New Delhi   |   Published 03.01.19, 09:05 AM

The University Grants Commission has been sitting on an expert panel’s list of institutes recommended for the status of Institution of Eminence, drawing criticism that the higher education regulator was not following its own rules.

The commission has not yet forwarded the panel’s recommendations to the government although the stipulated 15-day period ended on December 22.

The UGC (Institutions of Eminence Deemed to be Universities) Regulations, 2017, say the commission has to forward to the government the recommendations within 15 days of receiving the list of institutions.

“The recommendations of the Empowered Expert Committee (EEC) shall be submitted to the Commission, which shall forward it to (the) Ministry of Human Resource Development (HRD) within fifteen days of receipts of the recommendations,” the regulations say.

The EEC had on December 7 submitted its second list of 19 institutions for IoE status, part of the ministry’s plan to select 10 public and 10 private institutions that would enjoy academic and administrative autonomy and get incentives to develop into world class centres of learning.

The Press Information Bureau, the central government’s official publicity wing, had issued a press note that day confirming the submission of the second list.

“If the UGC does not follow its own rules, what monitoring can it do on other institutions? The delay in forwarding the list shows the body is inefficient,” Rajesh Jha, a member of the executive council of Delhi University, said.

The expert panel had submitted the first list in May 2018 and the commission had forwarded it to the HRD ministry within 15 days.

It is learnt that the EEC’s second list was discussed at a meeting of the commission on December 10, but the higher education regulator did not approve the list as questions were raised about the recommendations for some ineligible institutions.

A UGC official said the commission could not hold back the list beyond 15 days. “If the UGC has some objections, they should be pointed out and forwarded with the list of institutions to the government. Let the government decide. The UGC has no power to hold the report,” the official added.

UGC sources said some of the institutions recommended in the second list did not fulfil the eligibility criteria of net worth and the expectation that the institutions must have complied with all the rules set by the higher education regulator.

One eligibility criterion was the net worth of individual sponsors of private institutions must be more than Rs 3,000 crore.

“Many institutions recommended in the list are not eligible. The net worth of members of many institutions is not Rs 3,000 crore. Some of the institutions had violated UGC rules in the past. But the whole thing has been dealt with in a non-transparent manner. The government wants to promote ineligible private institutions,” Delhi University executive council member Jha alleged.

Despite repeated calls and text messages, no response could be obtained from either UGC chairman Professor D.P. Singh or the commission’s

secretary, Professor Rajnish Jain.

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