UGC Regulation for M.Phil./Ph.D.: Its Adverse Affect on Downtrodden, Rural and Remote Candidates

(Written By- RaghavendraYadav)
The admission policy is one of the most debatable issues in Higher Educational Institutions of India. Efforts have been made during the pre-independence of India to improve and modernize the conditions of education and even after the Independence of India. Several efforts have been made by the Government(s) to improve the quality of education and expand the access to education towards a large segment of the country. In this article, the Author is focusing only on Regulation 2009 and 2016 for UGC “Minimum Criteria and Process to Provide M.Phil./Ph.D. Degree”.An effort was made by University Grants Commission (UGC) in 2009 to improve the condition of M.Phil./Ph.D. thru Regulation 2009 “Minimum Criteria and Process to Provide M.Phil./Ph.D. Degree”. After that, A similar effort was made in May 2016 by “Minimum Criteria and Process to Provide M.Phil./Ph.D. Degree” Regulation 2016 and again amendment thru Regulation 2018. UGC’s Regulation 2016 was the replacement and corrective form of the Regulations 2009. Its several articles and sub-articles are mandatory in nature which must be followed by the higher educational institutions.

Most of its articles and sub-articles are good and it is also an effort to bring transparency in many cases, which implementation will make positive changes in the condition of research but some articles and sub-articles of this Regulation have been very controversial and a large number of intellectuals & scholars of the country are strongly disagreeing. Therefore, they do not want to apply it in the same form. They want some changes in the above said Regulation because it would have a negative effect on the massive numbers of students who come from deprived educationally backward sections of society and rural remote areas. With this discriminatory & draconian rule of UGC, higher educational institutions of India will become more difficult for underprivileged sections of the country to join the research program.

The double standard in minimum eligibility criteria is undemocratic
According to the UGC Regulation 2016, notified in the Gazette of India [No. 28, Part-3, Section-4] which was published on May 5, 2016, under sub-section 2.1, 2.2 and 3.1, 3.2 of Section 2 and 3, for admission in M.Phil./Ph.D. at least 55% marks or its equivalent grade in the post-graduate degree or its equivalent (5% relaxation to the SC/ST/OBC-NCL/PWD or equivalent waiver in grades will be provided). This pattern is made by UGC for those students who are studying in India. There is a different paradigm for those Indian students who are studying abroad. For them, the degree of postgraduate or equivalent of a foreign educational institution has been obtained which is approved and accredited by such a statutory authority or under such an authority which is established or incorporated under any law in that country.

Now the question is that students who are studying in India’s top educational institute which is approved and accredited under the statutory authority for ensuring quality and standards and for their assessment, accreditation which is established and incorporated under the laws of India, for them a 55% barrier in Masters or equivalent and for students studying abroad, there is no percentage barrier. Why is this undemocratic double standard? This dual parameter is unethical in nature because almost Indian students who are studying abroad come from the elite class. They are sons or daughters of big leaders, high bureaucrats, rich businessmen or professors who take salary each month in lac. Therefore, they get a discount in the percentage of the Master Degree and on the students studying in India, the arbitrary percentile barrier is imposed. So that, the students from rural, remote and educationally backward of the society can be prevented from enrolling in the research program. These double standards for enrolment are not justified for the same course. Such double standards are undemocratic and discriminatory.

If the students from rural, remote and educationally backward of the society are deprived from research work, then the foundation of social justice and inclusive development (which also means SabkaSath, SabkaVikas) will become an incomplete dream. The Government’s law makers should ensure that the minimum qualification of M.Phil./Ph.D. for the students studying in India should be Master Degree as same as for foreign students. There is no relevance to keep the percentage barrier for research programs when it is adversely affecting to students of underprivileged sections of the country and shrinking their hope to join the higher educational institutions for research work. By removing this arbitrary paradigm, the way will be open to candidates of large segments of society especially from the downtrodden. The candidates from first generation learning will get an opportunity to prove their selves.

Does UGC impose arbitrary and unlawful norms on Higher Educational Institutions?
As per Clause 2 and 3 of UGC Regulation 2016, UGC has the concession for SC/ST/OBC-NCL and PWD in marks in minimum eligibility in admission in M.Phil., Ph.D., and Integrated M.Phil./Ph.D. program. UGC Regulation 2016 will apply to those Educational Institutions which are established or incorporated by a Central Act, a Provincial Act and a State Act and every Institution Deemed to be a University under Section 3 of UGC Act, 1956. Reservation can be given thru the law passed by theParliament of India or thru States’ legislature or thru the Executive Order of Central Government or thru the Executive Order of the State Government(s). The Universities or any other Autonomous Institution(s) including the Apex Regulatory body University Grants Commission have no power to grant reservations or skip reservations. In the basket of reservation, there is quota, concession and relaxation. Concession in marks, in minimum eligibility under vertical and horizontal reservation for every Educational Institutions that are incorporated by Central Act, Provincial Act and States Act cannot be given by one rule because Central Govt. has different affirmative actions for SC/ST/OBC-NCL and PWD and State Govt. has different affirmative actions for SC/ST/OBC-NCL and PWD.

Even though, different State Govt(s) have different affirmative actions for SC/ST/OBC-NCL and PWD.For the Central Educational Institutions, Central provision will apply and for the State’s Educational Institutions States provision will apply. Central Govt. has a provision of Concession in marks in minimum eligibility but every State Govt. has not provision of 5% Concession in marks in minimum eligibility for all SC/ST/OBC-NCL and PWD. Here question is, does UGC has the Power/Right to grant such concession in minimum eligibility in marks? Under which rule/law, UGC has the power to grant such a concession in minimum eligibility for admission to all the Universities and other Educational institutions that are incorporated or established by a Central Act, a Provincial Act or a States Act? If there is no rule/law, then University Grants Commission should make provision as per law and before publishing it in form of a Gazette, the concerned Ministry and the Parliament should carefully examine the Regulation.

*Author is Ph.D. Scholar at Centre for Studies in Economics & Planning, Central University of Gujarat, Gandhinagar, India- 382029. He may be communicated thru email-


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