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Government to Improve AICTE Act

After much delay, the government has decided to make changes the All Indian Council of Technical Education (AICTE) Act to undo a Supreme Court ruling which had stripped the council of its powers to grant institutes offering technical courses. A short-term arrangement would be put in place till then where AICTE would set standards for technical institutes and universities would offer the affiliation. The institutes on their part would have to get themselves reviewed by the National Board of Accreditation. Revealing this to reporters here today, higher education secretary in HRD ministry Ashok Thakur said the amendments and the short-term arrangements have received the law ministry's nod. "The change would principally re-establish the earlier powers of AICTE," he said without intricate further. He though accepted that the amendment would take its time to go throughout given the resulting Lok Sabha polls. Thakur, who headed a committee to manage between AICTE and UGC on the issue, said the broader guidelines would be settled at a UGC meet on January 10 and directives issued about providing affiliations by the universities. The decision to go for change in the AICTE Act comes eight months after the Supreme Court had struck down the council's regulatory powers over technical institutes. It has said colleges allied to a university do not come under the purview of the definition of "technical institution" as defined in AICTE Act, 1987. While the ruling had prompted confusion about the fate of technical education particularly of the management programmes, the ministry determined to bring a decree to undo the apex court ruling. However, the proposal was gone down later on as the ministry was unsure about it being approved through. It had also approached the law ministry to isolate powers between AICTE and UGC for agreement, only to be attempt down.

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