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Can audit private deemed universities: CAG to HRD Ministry

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Economic Times | By Anubhuti Vishnoi | ET Bureau | March 10, 2016 |

NEW DELHI: The Comptroller & Auditor General of India has finally opened a window which could allow for a government audit of private deemed to be universities. The CAG is learnt to have communicated to the human resource development ministry that there are provisions in the CAG Act under which a proposal for auditing the deemed varsities can be considered. The CAG usually runs its scrutiny on the finances of those institutions that receive considerable government funding. Of the 120-odd deemed universities, the Centre fully funds three government-run deemed varsities and partially funds about 20 private ones. Nearly 85 are completely privately run. An HRD ministry backed review of deemed universities in 2009 by the Tandon committee had run into a legal tangle that is still unresolved and stiffly opposed by private deemed varsities. It is learnt that the CAG has sought well outlined specific proposals for such an audit if it is to be conducted also allowing for providing opportunity to the deemed universities to make representations on the matter. The HRD ministry had last year written to the UGC recommending an audit of all 120 deemed to be universities citing the apex higher education regulator’s 2000 as well as 2010 regulations, which provide for auditing of all deemed varsities. The UGC, however, had shot back pointing out that this was not legally tenable in case of the private deemed varsities as they did not receive any government funding.

In a response on the matter to a question in the Rajya Sabha, the HRD ministry, however, has maintained that “the UGC is not opposing the auditing of deemed universities by CAG”. The CAG has now responded to the HRD ministry saying that “specific proposals under Section 20 of the CAG’s (Duties, Power and Conditions of Service) Act, 1971” can be moved by the ministry and these could be taken up by the CAG for “their consideration and appropriate action”. The HRD ministry has also shared the same information with the Rajya Sabha in this parliament session. The HRD ministry claims that the move towards auditing is in keeping with the Clause 20 of the 2010 Deemed University Regulations, which provide for a CAG audit of all deemed to be universities. The ministry has argued that the 2010 regulations do not make any distinction between private and government funded deemed to be universities and hence all of them uniformly attract its provisions. The move is also aimed at ensuring greater quality control and checking unfair financial practices at the private deemed varsities.-  Courtesy


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