Gautam panel report on UGC being examined by HRD ministry, NITI Aayog

The report has suggested that the UGC be replaced by a National Higher Education Authority

The report by the Hari Gautam panel is being examined by the HRD Ministry and NITI Aayog. The report questions the functioning of the University Grants Commission (UGC) and has recommended its scrapping. It has suggested that the UGC be replaced by a National Higher Education Authority. Officials in the HRD Ministry stated that experts from NITI Aayog are examining the report. They did not give a deadline for completion of the exercise. 

The report states "It (UGC) has side-stepped its function of being a sentinel of excellence in education and embraced the relatively easier function of funding education."  It adds that the UGC chairperson "should be advised to strictly keep a vigilant track of the various performance areas of the UGC and assess contribution at all levels". The report was brought up in Parliament last week when a member wanted to know if the recommendations of the committee had been accepted. The committee has critiqued the style of functioning of the UGC stating that it has "failed to fulfil its mandate but also has not been able to deal with emerging diverse complexities". 

The report suggests that a National Higher Education Authority be created through an Act of Parliament to replace UGC as "any reshaping or restructuring of the UGC will be a futile exercise". They have also discouraged amending the UGC Act as it will make little difference. The Hari Gautam panel submitted its report in March this year, recommending reforms, including scrapping of policies under which universities are categorised. The report has suggested a national research aptitude test for doing PhD and a single term for Vice Chancellors. It seeks to do away with the criteria that requires a person to have 10 years experience as professor to be eligible for elevation as VC . 


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