The University Grants Commission has turned down a Ministry of Human Resource Development recommendation to get government auditor CAG to inspect the accounts of the 120-odd deemed universities, saying it was not legally tenable.
The higher education regulator does not usually go against suggestions that come from the government and its rare act of defiance, sources familiar with the development told The Telegraph, has left behind a bitter taste.
Reportedly, the ministry had written to the UGC quoting the regulator’s own guidelines and regulations that provide for an audit of the accounts of all the deemed universities, a status that allows them autonomy in deciding on courses, syllabi, admissions and fees.
In its guidelines in the year 2000 for declaring an institution a deemed-to-be university, the UGC had said the accounts of all such varsities would be open to examination by the Comptroller and Auditor General.
Its 2010 deemed-to-be-university regulations, which replaced the guidelines, reiterated the same provision for audit of accounts. But though the guidelines, and later the regulations, have been in place for a long time, the UGC has never requested the CAG for auditing the accounts of the deemed universities.
Following the ministry’s letter, the UGC said it might not be legally tenable to audit the accounts of self-financing private deemed universities, which account for most of the deemed universities.
The UGC partially funds around 20 private deemed universities and fully funds three government-run deemed universities. Various government departments, like the HRD and culture ministries and the department of science and technology, fund a few other government-run deemed universities. Nearly 80 private deemed universities are self-financed institutions, reported Telegraph.