29 Mar :In the wake of the recent Aman Kachroo ragging case in Himachal Pradesh, the University Grants Commission (UGC) has said universities and colleges under it will have to implement a strict anti-ragging regulation from the next academic session.
The report of the committee which is finalising the modalities of the new regulation will be sent to all the universities and colleges for implementation, UGC Chairman Sukhadeo Thorat told reporters at Chandigarh on the sidelines of a convocation function on Sunday.
UGC has set up a four-member committee to frame the regulation to curb ragging, he said, adding the institutes will have to implement the regulation from the next academic session.
The draft regulation proposes to make it mandatory for all students and their parents to furnish written undertakings that they will never indulge in ragging and were well versed with the laws and punishments for ragging.
Under the provisions of the new regulation, a student found guilty of ragging can be expelled and moreover, financial grants of the institution where the incident takes place, can be witheld or stopped, Thorat said, adding the regulation will be finalised shortly.
19-year-old Aman Kachroo, a medical student at a Tanda college, died early this month allegedly due to ragging, sparking a countrywide outrage on the issue.
"Although, we have a set of guidelines on ragging, but in the absence of a regulation somehow we felt these are not enforced. After the new regulation is in place, it will be legally enforceable to check the ragging menace," Thorat said.
He said that UGC was also trying to have it clearly mentioned in the prospectus and application forms of the institutions that ragging was banned and anyone found guilty of ragging or abetting ragging was liable to be punished.
Thorat said that the institutions have also been asked to set up three committees: anti-ragging committee, anti-ragging squad and monitoring cell on ragging.
Widespread publicity of anti-ragging rules are among the draft regulations proposed by the UGC.
The UGC is also meeting with other regulatory bodies like the All India Council of Technical Education and the Medical Council of India to get their views before finalising the new measure.
The institutes will also need to put up billboards and banners in prominent places on the campus asking the students to prevent or not to indulge in ragging and also indicate the names of the officials to be contacted in case such incidents occur, he said.
By March last year, there were about 20,676 colleges in the country, out of which about 16,000 come under UGC’s purview. This accounts for about 80 percent of the total colleges in the country.
Of the total colleges under the purview of the UGC, about 40 percent of 5,813 receive UGC grants as they meet the minimum standards defined by the UGC, Thorat said.
Earlier, delivering presidential address at the 58th Annual Convocation of Panjab University at Chandigarh, Thorat said that during the 10th Five Year Plan, Gross Enrollment Ratio (GER) was estimated to have increased from 9.5 million during 2002-03 to 14 million during 2006-07, which is a net increase of 4.5 percent at a per annum rate.
"The targeted increase of 7 million during the 11th Five Year Plan will thus, require much larger expansion in the capacity of educational institutions in the realm of higher education," he said.
He said the access to higher education is measured in terms of GER, which is a ratio of persons enrolled in higher education institutions to total population of the persons in age group of 18-23 years.
On the issue of inclusiveness and equal access of higher education, he said in 2004-05, disparities were evident in GER between religious groups.
The GER was the lowest among the Muslims followed by the Hindus, he said.
"The GER for the Hindus, the Muslims, the Christians, the Sikhs and Others stood at 11.9, 6.84, 16.68, 12 and 15.4 percentage points, respectively."
He also said that among religious groups, the GER among Muslim women was 5.8 percent compared to 9.32 for Hindu females, 12.7 percent for the Sikh females and 16 percent for the Christian women.