The Telegraph | Saturday , April 23 , 2016 | Basant Kumar Mohanty | Registry plan for deemed varsities |
New Delhi, April 22: The Smriti Irani-headed HRD ministry is set to create a registry of experts to represent the Centre as nominees in private deemed universities, mirroring an earlier proposal by former minister Kapil Sibal. The University Grants Commission last week approved procedures for such selections, which were so far being made by its chairman in the absence of guidelines and were often criticised as arbitrary. A search committee will pick the nominees to the governing boards and finance committees of the 88 private deemed universities in the country, similar to the system followed in the case of IIT directors who are also picked by such panels. The UGC will set up the search panel for the deemed universities, sources said. Sibal had as HRD minister moved the Higher Education Research Bill that sought to set up a National Commission for Higher Education and Research (NCHER) as an overarching body to regulate higher education. The bill had provisions for the NCHER to create a registry of candidates who could be appointed vice-chancellors in deemed, state and central varsities, and nobody outside the list could be considered.
The provision was later revised to include only central universities after objections from several states which saw the move as a threat to their powers. The Narendra Modi government last year withdrew the bill from Parliament. Asked about the latest move, Sibal termed it “politically motivated” and suspected the government wanted to nominate people with RSS backgrounds to the deemed varsities. “The UGC registry will open the gates for RSS ideologues. This is part of the saffronisation agenda,” the Congress leader said. The ministry is likely to approve the registry plan in a week, after which the UGC will frame the eligibility criteria for the nominees. The higher education regulator is likely to prepare a registry of 150 to 200 individuals and may invite applications for inclusion in the list. The search panel, comprising experts, will scrutinise the applications and finalise names from among the candidates. Two lists are likely to be prepared, one of those who could be sent as nominees to the governing bodies of the deemed universities, and the other to the finance committees of such institutes. For the governing bodies, priority will be given to those with academic experience, while those with knowledge of finance – like chartered accountants or corporate professionals – will be preferred for nominations to the finance committees, UGC sources said. The lists will be posted on the UGC website. Under the current system, the government often has no representation at meetings of the private deemed universities because the UGC is unable to decide on the nominees. – Courtesy