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Controversial UPA bill withdrawn from Rajya Sabha

PTI November 25, 2014 20:34 IST

New Delhi: Government today withdrew from Rajya Sabha a bill which aimed at creating an overarching body in the higher education subsuming existing regulatory bodies such as UGC, AICTE and NCTE, scrapping a controversial move by its predecessor UPA.

The Higher Education and Research Bill, 2011 was withdrawn by HRD Minister Smriti Irani.

Its withdrawal was cleared by Union Cabinet in September keeping in mind the objections of the Parliamentary Panel to various provisions of the legislation.

The bill was introduced in Rajya Sabha in 2011 by then HRD Minister Kapil Sibal but failed to evolve a consensus as several parties raised objections to the provisions of the legislation.

It had sought to establish a National Commission for Higher Education and Research, with the mandate to determine, coordinate, maintain and promote standards of higher education and research other than agricultural education and minimum standards of medical education.

However, the Parliamentary Standing Committee in its report had said the HRD ministry had not consulted state governments while drafting this Bill.

It recommended that state governments be given a say in the formulation of any policy on higher education. It had also opposed the proposal to scrap UGC, AICTE and other regulators.

The bill also came under criticism for impeding the federal structure of the country as it sought to give all powers to the commission, though education is controlled by both the state and the Centre.

Shortly after coming to power, the NDA government announced the setting up of review committees to strengthen UGC and AICTE.