HRD Ministry to approach Law Ministry over UGC-IIT dispute

September 6, 2014

 The Ministry of Human Resources Development (MHRD) is all set to take the UGC-IIT matter to the Law Ministry regarding the applicability of UGC specifications to IIT degree programmes.

 Sources claimed that the MHRD has decided to refer the UGC Act, 1956 to the Law Ministry. In order to check its applicability, The University Grants Commission (UGC) Act and, particularly, Section 22 of the Act DEALING with 'Right to confer degrees' will be referred for examination to the law ministry to the IITs.

 The matter will be first discussed at a meeting of the Standing Committee of the IIT Council (SCIC) on September 12 and later by the IIT Council on September 22, before referring it to the Law Ministry. UGC Chairman Ved Prakash, who is a member of the IIT Council, will also attend the Council meet to find a solution to the issue.

 UGC had written an official letter to 16 IITs asking them to ensure that their degrees are aligned to those recognized by the higher education regulator.

 Officials said the only way to resolve the stand-off is to either have the IITs agree to the UGC diktat, or to amend the IIT Act and specify that its provisions override all conflicting provisions in any other Act. The easier way is to simply have the MHRD amend the Rules to the IIT Act, 1961 so that it is made clear that the IIT academic programmes and degrees will be determined solely by the institutes or the IIT Council.

 The IITs are autonomous institutes governed by the Institutes of Technology Act, 1961 that lays down their powers, duties, framework for governance among others.

 They have argued that the UGC Act does not apply to them, with some of them even unaware of the IIT communication. Several IITs may have to restructure or rename their four-year Bachelors of Science (BS) programmes or dual degree programmes, if the UGC directive is imposed on them.

 Incidentally, the MHRD has also backed the UGC on the issue saying that the IITs should try to do away with the mismatch with the UGC on degree specifications.



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