Plan to replace UGC, AICTE with HEERA on hold

The government’s plan to replace the University Grants Commission (UGC) and the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) with a single higher education regulator seems to have hit a roadblock. The HRD ministry has put the idea on hold.


The plan was to introduce Higher Education Empowerment Regulation Agency or HEERA. It was aimed to eliminate overlaps in jurisdiction and remove irrelevant regulatory provisions is in limbo. The HRD Ministry and the Niti Ayog were earlier working to bring technical and non-technical education institutions under one umbrella. But there has been no headway so far.

This issue was raised in Parliament last week by Minister of State for HRD Upendra Kushwaha. “No such proposal is under consideration at present, to merge the University Grants Commission (UGC) and the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) into a single higher education regulator,” Kushwaha had informed the Rajya Sabha.


HRD officials remained tightlipped when asked about the reasons behind it. The ministry officials had earlier claimed a detailed blueprint of the proposed regulator and its legislation is being worked upon. It was felt that multiple regulatory bodies led to excessive and restrictive regulation. This contributed to the lack of institutional autonomy.


— It has been recommended by various committees set up by previous governments

— National Knowledge Commission (2006) had recommended an independent regulatory authority for higher education

—Committee on Renovation and Rejuvenation of Higher Education (2009) had also advocated an apex regulatory body by converging multiple agencies in the field of higher education

— UGC Review Committee in 2014 had also recommended the commission be replaced with an apex institution named National Higher Education Authority.

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