A new and independent body comprising academics and using an ICT-enabled platform will give grants to universities after the University Grants Commission (UGC) is repealed, Human Resource Development Minister Prakash Javadekar told the Lok Sabha on Monday.

He said the Ministry would not shift to itself the power of disbursing grants, seeking to silence criticism in recent days from stakeholders, who fear that the government plans to keep the grant-giving powers hitherto vested in the UGC to itself.

The criticism from teachers had followed the recent announcement by the Ministry that the UGC would be replaced by the Higher Education Commission of India (HECI), which would have the mandate of ensuring quality of higher education without powers to give grants to universities, something the UGC possesses. “The grant disbursal function to universities and colleges is now proposed to be located in an entity which works on a transparent, merit-based approach through an ICT-enabled platform,” the Minister said.

Mr. Javadekar said the draft Higher Education Commission of India Bill, 2018, had been put in the public domain on June 27, 2018, for seeking comments and suggestions from educationists, stakeholders and the general public before July 20.

The Ministry had received 9,926 suggestions/comments so far and appropriate changes are being made in the draft Bill based on the feedback.

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