Govt proposes to replace UGC with new commission

The new Higher Education Commission of India Act is likely to be tabled in Parliament during the monsoon session. Photo: Mint

The new Higher Education Commission of India Act is likely to be tabled in Parliament during the monsoon session. Photo: Mint

New Delhi: The Union government on Wednesday unveiled the draft of a bill to replace higher education regulator University Grants Commission (UGC) with a Higher Education Commission.

The new commission to be established through an Act will not have grant-making authority, will promote reduced inspection system and will focus more on quality outcome at universities and colleges.

Human resource development (HRD) minister Prakash Javadekar, who claimed this is a key education reform, said the new body will be more representational. Its board will have senior bureaucrats from the ministries of HRD, skills and entrepreneurship, and science and technology, in a way ending the monopoly of HRD ministry in regulating higher education.

“The draft Act is in accordance with the commitment of the government for reforming the regulatory systems that provide more autonomy to higher educational institutes to promote excellence and facilitate holistic growth of the education system,” Javadekar said in a tweet.

He said the new Act will separate grant-making functions, end inspection raj, focus on academic quality and empower the new commission to enforce quality issues.

According to the draft bill, university and college managements found wanting and violating penalty imposed by the commission “shall be liable for prosecution as per procedure laid down under the Criminal Procedure Code and may be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend up to three years”.

The new body will specify learning outcomes for colleges and universities, prescribe teaching, assessment, research standards.

UGC reform was part of the BJP’s general election manifesto in 2014. To be sure, a similar restructuring was discussed and promoted by the previous United Progressive Alliance government but could not become a law due to lack of support from the parliament.

Over the last four years, the HRD ministry has deliberated on several models like a single regulator for higher education by merging UGC, National Council of Teacher Education (NCTE) and All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE); however, the plans were not taken forward.

“This Act provides for establishing the Higher Education Commission of India repealing the University Grants Commission Act, 1956,” said the draft bill which is open for public feedback till 7 July.

“Whereas for promoting uniform development of quality of education in higher educational institutions, there is a need for creation of a Body that lays down uniform standards, and ensures maintenance of the same through systematic monitoring and promotion, Whereas the existing regulatory structure as reflected by the mandate given to University Grants Commission required redefinition based on the changing priorities of higher education and allow its growth,” underlines the draft bill on need for a change.

The new commission shall consist of a chairperson, vice chairperson and 12 members to be appointed by the central government. The secretary of the commission will act as the member-secretary. Of the 12 members, three members will represent union government namely: secretary of higher education, secretary of ministry of skill development and entrepreneurship and secretary, department of science and technology. Besides, there will be an “industry doyen” among the board members.

[“Source-livemint”]

Govt proposes to replace UGC with new commission

The new Higher Education Commission of India Act is likely to be tabled in Parliament during the monsoon session. Photo: Mint

The new Higher Education Commission of India Act is likely to be tabled in Parliament during the monsoon session. Photo: Mint

New Delhi: The Union government on Wednesday unveiled the draft of a bill to replace higher education regulator University Grants Commission (UGC) with a Higher Education Commission.

The new commission to be established through an Act will not have grant-making authority, will promote reduced inspection system and will focus more on quality outcome at universities and colleges.

Human resource development (HRD) minister Prakash Javadekar, who claimed this is a key education reform, said the new body will be more representational. Its board will have senior bureaucrats from the ministries of HRD, skills and entrepreneurship, and science and technology, in a way ending the monopoly of HRD ministry in regulating higher education.

“The draft Act is in accordance with the commitment of the government for reforming the regulatory systems that provide more autonomy to higher educational institutes to promote excellence and facilitate holistic growth of the education system,” Javadekar said in a tweet.

He said the new Act will separate grant-making functions, end inspection raj, focus on academic quality and empower the new commission to enforce quality issues.

According to the draft bill, university and college managements found wanting and violating penalty imposed by the commission “shall be liable for prosecution as per procedure laid down under the Criminal Procedure Code and may be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend up to three years”.

The new body will specify learning outcomes for colleges and universities, prescribe teaching, assessment, research standards.

UGC reform was part of the BJP’s general election manifesto in 2014. To be sure, a similar restructuring was discussed and promoted by the previous United Progressive Alliance government but could not become a law due to lack of support from the parliament.

Over the last four years, the HRD ministry has deliberated on several models like a single regulator for higher education by merging UGC, National Council of Teacher Education (NCTE) and All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE); however, the plans were not taken forward.

“This Act provides for establishing the Higher Education Commission of India repealing the University Grants Commission Act, 1956,” said the draft bill which is open for public feedback till 7 July.

“Whereas for promoting uniform development of quality of education in higher educational institutions, there is a need for creation of a Body that lays down uniform standards, and ensures maintenance of the same through systematic monitoring and promotion, Whereas the existing regulatory structure as reflected by the mandate given to University Grants Commission required redefinition based on the changing priorities of higher education and allow its growth,” underlines the draft bill on need for a change.

The new commission shall consist of a chairperson, vice chairperson and 12 members to be appointed by the central government. The secretary of the commission will act as the member-secretary. Of the 12 members, three members will represent union government namely: secretary of higher education, secretary of ministry of skill development and entrepreneurship and secretary, department of science and technology. Besides, there will be an “industry doyen” among the board members.

7th Pay Commission Allowances: Updates On Empowered Committee Meeting

Allowance committee examining 7th pay commissions recommendations submitted its report last month.

The Empowered Committee of Secretaries (E-CoS) is likely to meet soon to screen the allowance committee report on 7th pay commission recommendations, an employee union leader said. He expects the Empowered Committee of Secretaries to firm up the proposal in a fortnight for approval of the Cabinet. The Ashok Lavasa committee on allowances, which examined the 7th pay commission’s recommendations on allowances, submitted its report to the finance minister on April 27. The allowance committee has suggested some modifications in some allowances that are applicable universally to all employees as well as certain other allowances which apply to specific employee categories, the finance ministry said in a statement.

The 7th pay commission had recommended that house rent allowance or HRA be paid at the rate of 24 per cent, 16 per cent and 8 per cent of the new basic pay, depending on the type of city. The 7th pay commission had also recommended that the rate of HRA be revised to 27 per cent, 18 per cent and 9 per cent when DA crosses 50 per cent, and further revised to 30 per cent, 20 per cent and 10 per cent when DA crosses 100 per cent. With regard to allowances, employee unions have demanded HRA at the rate of 30 per cent, 20 per cent and 10 per cent.

The 7th pay commission had recommended that of a total of 196 allowances, 52 be abolished altogether and 36 be abolished as separate identities by subsuming them in another allowance.
The Cabinet had earlier approved modification in recommendations of the 7th pay commission relating to the method of revision of pension of pre-2016 pensioners and family pensioners based on recommendations of a high-level panel. The decision will benefit over 55 lakh pre-2016 civil and defence pensioners and family pensioners.

 

 

 

[“source-ndtv”]

7th Pay Commission: Changes In Pension, Defence Pay Matrix And More

The Cabinet had in June last year approved implementation of 7th pay commission recommendations

he Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi approved important proposals relating to modifications in the 7th pay commission recommendations on pay and pensionary benefits including those of defence forces. The benefit of the modifications will be available with effect from January 1, 2016, the date of implementation of 7th pay commission recommendations. The Cabinet had in June last year approved implementation of the 7th pay commission’s recommendations with an additional financial outgo of Rs. 84,933 crore for 2016-17 (including arrears for 2 months of 2015-16). With the increase approved by the Cabinet, the annual pension bill alone of the central government is likely to be Rs. 1,76,071 crore.

Here are highlights of some of the important decisions of the Cabinet:

The Cabinet approved modifications in the recommendations of the 7th pay commission relating to the method of revision of pension of pre-2016 pensioners and family pensioners based on suggestions made by the committee chaired by Secretary (Pensions).
The modified formulation of pension revision approved by the Cabinet will entail an additional benefit to the pensioners and an additional expenditure of approximately Rs. 5,031 crore for 2016-17 over and above the expenditure already incurred in revision of pension as per the second formulation based on fitment factor.

It will benefit over 55 lakh pre-2016 civil and defence pensioners and family pensioners. In order to provide the more beneficial option to the pensioners, the Cabinet has accepted the recommendations of the Committee, which has suggested revision of pension based on information contained in the Pension Payment Order (PPO) issued to every pensioner.

The Cabinet also approved the retention of percentage-based regime of disability pension implemented after sixth pay commission, which the 7th pay commission had recommended to be replaced by a slab-based system. The decision which will benefit existing and future defence pensioners would entail an additional expenditure of approximately Rs. 130 crore per annum.

The Cabinet has approved further modifications in the pay structure and the three Pay Matrices, i.e. Civil, Defence and Military Nursing Service (MNS).

The 7th pay commission had recommended a compact Pay Matrix for Defence Forces personnel keeping in view the number of levels, age and retirement profiles of the service personnel. The Ministry of Defence raised the issue that the compact nature of the Defence Pay Matrix may lead to stagnation for JCOs or junior commissioned officers in Defence Forces and proposed that the Defence Pay Matrix be extended to 40 stages. The Cabinet decision to extend the Defence Pay Matrix will benefit the junior commissioned officers who can continue in service without facing any stagnation till their retirement age of 57 years.

Index of Rationalisation or IOR for Levels 12 A (Lt. Col. and equivalent) and 13 (Colonel and equivalent) in the Defence Pay Matrix and Level 13 (Director and equivalent) in the Civil Pay Matrix has been increased from 2.57 to 2.67: Variable IOR ranging from 2.57 to 2.81 has been applied by the 7th CPC to arrive at Minimum Pay in each Level on the premise that with enhancement of Levels from Pay Band 1 to 2, 2 to 3 and onwards, the role, responsibility and accountability increases at each step in the hierarchy.

This principle has not been applied in respect of Levels 12A (Lt. Col. And equivalent), 13 (Colonel and equivalent) and 13A (Brigadier and equivalent) of Defence Pay Matrix and Level 13 (Director and equivalent) of the Civil Pay Matrix on the ground that there was a disproportionate increase in entry pay at the level pertaining to GP 8700 in the 6ht pay commission regime. The IOR for Level 13A (Brigadier and equivalent) in the Defence Pay Matrix has already been revised upwards with the approval of the Cabinet earlier. In view of the request from Ministry of Defence for raising the IOR for Levels 12 A and 13 of the Defence Pay Matrix and requests from others, the IOR for these levels has been revised upwards to ensure uniformity of approach in determining the IOR.

To ensure against reduction in pay, benefit of pay protection in the form of Personal Pay was earlier extended to officers when posted on deputation under Central Staffing Scheme (CSS) with the approval of Cabinet. The benefit will also be available to officers coming on Central Deputation on posts not covered under the CSS.

 

 

[“source-ndtv”]