The Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) has scrapped the search-cum-selection (SCS) committee formed earlier this year to come up with suggestions for suitable names for appointment of chairman of the University Grants Commission (UGC), sources close to the MHRD have confirmed.

According to the sources, an unhappy MHRD scrapped the SCS panel after the committee failed to find a name “suitable” for the chairman’s post lying vacant for over six months now.

Soon after the retirement of Ved Prakash from the UGC chairman’s post in April this year, the MHRD had set up the SCS committee, led by yoga instructor H.R. Nagendra, to look into the issue of appointment of the UGC chairperson. Within two months, the committee had shortlisted four names and forwarded the same to the MHRD in June for its final approval. The MHRD has the discretion to choose one name among the finalists for the UGC chairman’s post.

“The SCS committee had forwarded the names of the finalists to the MHRD in June, but after screening, the Ministry did not find any individual in the list suitable for the UGC chairman’s post and scrapped the SCS committee,” a source familiar with the development told The Sunday Guardian.

“The shortlisted names which the MHRD had received include All India Council for Technical Education chairman Anil Sahasrabudhe, National Assessment and Accreditation Council chief D.P. Singh, Banaras Hindu University vice-chancellor G.C. Tripathi, and Delhi Technological University vice-chancellor Yogesh Singh,” the same source quoted above said.

Not only is the post of UGC chairman vacant, but the post of vice-chairman is also lying vacant for over six months.

The MHRD had already formed another SCS committee in April this year to look into the matter of appointment of UGC vice-chairman, but the committee is yet to send the names of the finalists for appointment to the post.

“The MHRD is yet to receive the shortlisted names for the appointment of the UGC vice-chairman and it has not given any direction for scrapping of the SCS committee formed for appointment of the vice-chairman,” a ministry source said. Currently, V.S. Chauhan is the officiating chairman of the UGC. 

Recently, the MHRD was criticised for giving extension to Chauhan as officiating chairman. Professor Chauhan was appointed officiating chairman on 4 April 2017 and his tenure came to an end in October this year.

An existing UGC member told The Sunday Guardian: “The appointment of the officiating chairman should be for a term of six months and not more than that. According to the UGC Act, 1956, a chairman should be appointed before the term of the officiating chairman ends, but the MHRD does not seem to care much for UGC rules.”

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