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News18 Impact | UGC Sets Up 5-Member Panel on HRD Ministry's Orders After Shocking Expose on Degrees for Sale

News18 Impact | UGC Sets Up 5-Member Panel on HRD Ministry's Orders After Shocking Expose on Degrees for Sale

The committee has been asked to complete its inquiry within three weeks.

Mumbai: Taking cognizance of a CNN-News18 expose on educational degrees for sale, the HRD ministry has ordered the setting up of a five-member committee to look into the matter. The committee, UGC chairman DP Singh said, has been asked to submit a report in three weeks.

CNN-News18 had reported on an alleged racket prevailing in several parts of the country where agents would claim to arrange degrees of recognised universities without the need for students to attend classes or sit for examinations.

The committee is required to complete its inquiry within three weeks and identify institutions and individuals that have resorted to such illegal practices.

Union HRD Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal said he has instructed the concerned institutions to conduct strict investigation. "Whoever is guilty, strict action will be taken against them," he wrote on Twitter.

The high-level committee to look into the matter will consist of Delhi Technological University Vice-Chancellor Yogesh Singh; former Vice-Chancellor of Bundelkhand University, AC Pandey; National Judicial Academy India Additional Director (Research and Training) DP Verma; former JNU professor KPS Unny; and UGC Additional Secretary Dev Swarup.

The committee, headed by Singh, will be assisted by UGC Join Secretary (Private Universities) Surender Singh. It has been directed to complete its inquiry within three weeks.

A team of undercover reporters earlier met a person who claimed to be an agent of Key Education Consultancy in Navi Mumbai’s Koparkhairane. The agent, who identified himself as Swapnil Gaikwad, agreed to get them a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree backdated to 2016 and claimed that he can provide degrees from two well-known universities – these include Yashwantrao Chavan University and Solapur University, both of which are recognised by the UGC and the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE).

Gaikwad claimed that he could get engineering, law, and Ph.D. degrees, which would cost between Rs 75,000 to Rs 2 lakh.

Maharashtra Higher Education Minister Vinod Tawde told CNN-News18 he will immediately set up an inquiry in these fake degrees scandal. "It is very bad for the reputation of Maharashtra and the students' future," he said. "Within 15 days, we will complete the inquiry and have a criminal case launched against the culprits."

According to a whistleblower, an increase in the number of universities across the country is the major reason that has led to the expansion of the degree market.
first published:August 30, 2019, 09:45 IST