New Delhi: A draft cabinet note for the creation of an overarching regulatory body in the higher education section has been prepared and circulated across ministries for consultations, Kapil Sibal, Union minister for human resource development, said at a press conference on Thursday.
Setting agenda: Union minister for HRD Kapil Sibal, with MoS Purandeshwari Devi, briefs the press in New Delhi on Thursday. Subhav Shukla / PTI
Sibal said the ministry would try and introduce the Bill for the creation of the National Commission for Higher Education and Research (NCHER) in the next session of Parliament. A task force to aid and suggest measures for setting up a regulatory body has also been set up.
NCHER is being set up on the recommendation of the Yash Pal committee. The committee, which was set up to suggest reforms in the higher education sector, had also recommended that the commission be a constitutional entity to ensure the absolute autonomy along the lines of the Election Commission of India. The suggestion has however been rejected by the Prime Minister’s Office, which has been studying the ministry’s proposal to amend the Constitution for setting up the regulatory body, saying the it should not be used for regulatory purposes, a source said.
“It has been a setback because our report (on NCHER) wanted to leave no loopholes that would put the regulator at the risk of political influence,’’ a member of the Yash Pal committee said, requesting anonymity.
NCHER, once set up, will replace and subsume the University Grants Commission, the All India Council for Technical Education and the National Council for Teachers Education, which have thus far regulated the higher education sector in India.
The HRD ministry had earlier proposed bringing a Bill to set up the NCHER after the Constitution was amended.
Meanwhile, the cabinet approved a subsidy for loans given to farmers that will cost the government Rs4,000 crore in the year to 31 March. Banks have been asked to provide loans to farmers at 7% annual interest.
The government also announced a 5%increase in the dearness allowance for the Central government employees and pensioners, with retrospective effect from July this year.
(‘Bloomberg’ and ‘PTI’ contributed to this story.)