While the HRD Ministry sources admit that the committee was formed on the ground that it is not a regular inspection committee, it could justify how HRD and UGC officials could be a part of it.
Few days back when the Supreme Court of India ordered the University Grants Commission (UGC) to carry out physical verification of 41 deemed universities, claimed unfit to regard themselves as ‘deemed’ universities, hardly did anyone know that the accreditation body would itself dilute the rules.
The committee that was formed to inspect the colleges was headed by the UGC secretary JS Sandhu and other members which includes OP Kalra of University College of Medical Sciences, Ramesh Dadhich of ICSSR, SP Goyal- Joint Secretary of HRD Ministry, and Sunita Siwach, a UGC official.
The thing to be noted here is that the committee included two officials (from HRD Ministry and the UGC) who did not fall into any of the categories mentioned in the rule book formed by UGC.
Back in 2009, the UGC set up specific norms to constitute an investigation committee to ascertain financial needs of a college/university/equivalent body that practices the same standard of teaching, examination and research or both. One of the rules stated that the committee for verification of any such mentioned financial matters should consist of two serving or retired VCs of any central or state university; three to five members from amongst professors having special knowledge of the courses being conducted in the university; one member from each of the councils with jurisdiction over the courses in the university; and one from the National Academic and Accreditation Council (NAAC).
While the HRD Ministry sources admit that the committee was formed on the ground that it is not a regular inspection committee, they could not justify how HRD and UGC officials could be a part of it. It is believed that though the ministry wanted to have some say in physical verification of the universities, once the committee was set, it would be hard for the HRD to intervene.
The UGC report mentioned that among the 41 universities only 7 should be stripped off from their deemed status, while the remaining can continue to keep their status for time being. However, the ministry had decided to scrutinize all the 41 universities as they were found to be unfit for ‘deemed’ status by the Tandon Committee in 2009.
Though the UGC was the only body to decide the setting up and members of the committee, no regulation stated that a member or more from the HRD Ministry could be a part of the investigation panel. We wonder why did they include the two members.