State likely to lose RUSA grants

Should reconstitute Education Council  to receive funds 

The State government is likely to lose on grants under the Rashtriya Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan (RUSA) scheme for higher education if it does not reconstitute the Karnataka State Higher Education Council (KSHEC) as per guidelines stipulated by the Ministry for Human Resource Development (MHRD). It may also lose grants if it fails to establish supporting bodies to utilise and monitor funds allotted.

To receive RUSA grants an institutional mechanism needs to be set up -  constituting State Higher Education Council (SHEC), an apex body for overall planning and development of higher education and supporting bodies like State Project Directorate  -  to oversee project implementation and Technical Support Group to monitor flow of funds and information.

The Centre’s newly launched RUSA under the Ministry of Human Resource Development is pumping in Rs 22,000 crore during the 12th Plan (2012-2017) to achieve “equity, access and excellence” in higher education. These grants pertain to infrastructure and quality improvement, research, innovation, faculty improvement support, leadership development, and capacity building, among others.

Officials in the know of things said the present SHEC will have to be reconstituted as per MHRD guidelines to receive RUSA grants. SHEC is headed by the higher education minister and the MHRD guidelines prefer a non-political leadership. It wants the SHEC to be chaired preferably by an eminent academician with proven leadership abilities. 

Moreover, it wants the chairperson to be selected by a committee consisting of the chief minister, Speaker of the Legislative Assembly and Leader of the Opposition.The guidelines also suggest that the vice-chairperson of SHEC should be appointed after a search-cum-selection process. At present the vice-chairperson is nominated by the government. 

The guidelines stipulate that states with SHECs should constitute a selection committee to select new members. The State government is yet to take steps to initiate the changes, official sources said. When contacted,  Principal Secretary, Department of Higher Education, Rajneesh Goel, said no time frame has been fixed to reconstitute SHEC. 

“Many states do not even have a SHEC. We have not only completed all the basic requirements but, have moved much further and even constituted a RUSA Cell under the Council”, Goel said. He added the department has also constituted the State Project Directorate. Goel also said he felt there will be no hurdles in receiving RUSA grants.

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