In a bid to set up 20 world-class institutions (WCI), PMO and NITI Aayog have pooled in their respective suggestions to the HRD Ministry. NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant is learnt to have recently written to the PMO recommending two changes to the draft UGC regulations.
Kant in his letter has suggested, explicitly, that the WCI shall not be regulated by professional councils such as the AICTE, the Medical Council of India (MCI), the Dental Council of India and the Architecture Council of India. He further added that the ten government institutes that qualify for world-class status should have an autonomy when it comes to fix pay and promotion norms of their faculty, so that they can compete with other private institutes.
Higher Education Secretary V S Oberoi at a meeting between the PMO and the NITI Aayog expressed his reservations about the proposed changes. It was hinted that if some selective institutes are given the flexibility to fix the pay fo their employee, such norms will be seen as discriminatory or may even lead to resentment at other centrally-funded institutions.
According to sources, HRD Ministry feels that exempting WCIs from regulation by professional councils would require several amendments to the respective Acts of 15 different council.
Hitherto, the regulations were caught in a tussle between the HRD Ministry and PMO over the degree of autonomy to be granted to the 20 world-class institutions. For the 20 ‘world-class’ universities, the PMO told HRD ministry that even a softer version of the regulation as practised by the University Grants Commission (UGC) should be relaxed further.
The regulation faced hurdle when the Solicitor General of India advised that it is not legally feasible to create a separate regulatory structure for them – Empowered Expert Committee (EEC) – that can function independent and autonomous of the University Grants Commission.
The proposed guidelines-tentatively named UGC (Declaration of Educational Institutions as World Class Institutions) Guidelines, aim at creating an enabling architecture for ten public and ten private institutions to emerge as world-class institutions. This project was included in the Budget announced by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and is being closely monitored by PMO.