Chennai, July 14: Tamil Nadu Chief Minister E Palaniswami on Saturday strongly opposed the Centre’s draft bill on Higher Education Commission of India (Repeal of University Grants Commission Act) Act 2018. The chief minister wanted the existing arrangement with the University Grants Commission (UGC) to continue.

In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Palaniswami said, “The existing institutional arrangement of the University Grants Commission (UGC) with both regulatory and financial powers is functioning well.” He added that there was no need to disband the UGC and replace it with the Higher Education Commission of India.

According to the Chief Minister, the financial powers of the recently proposed Bill are said to have been transferred to the Ministry of Human Resources Development or some other body. He said that Tamil Nadu’s experience regarding the sanction of funds by various ministries (objectively based on merits) has not been very positive. Since Tamil Nadu government has strong reservations and apprehensions over the move, Palaniswami said, “If this financial power is taken over by the MHRD, we apprehend that the funding pattern would change from 100 per cent funding to 60:40 ratio between the Government of India and the state government.”

The Tamil Nadu government “strongly opposes the draft Bill on Higher Education Commission of India (Repeal of University Grants Commission Act) Act 2018 and request that the present institution of University Grants Commission may kindly be continued.” Palaniswami also requested a positive response to his view from the Centre.

The UGC is responsible for monitoring and improving Higher Educational Institutions in terms of teaching and research. The UGC has the power to objectively evaluate the proposals received and to sanction funds under various schemes, stated K Palaniswami. He added that the financial powers of the UGC have been in vogue since 1956 without any complaints.

(With Agency Inputs)