UGC (University Grants Commission) – Functions, Role, UGC UPSC PDF

By BYJU'S Exam Prep

Updated on: November 14th, 2023

UGC, or the University Grants Commission, is a judicial organization of the Indian Government. The body was inaugurated on 28th December 1953 by the late Shri Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, the then Minister of Education, Natural Resources, and Scientific Research. UGC was implemented by the Act of Parliament and was responsible for coordinating, defining, and supervising teaching, examination strategy, and research benchmarks in university schooling.

UGC was formed to manage the work of the Central institutes of Delhi, Aligarh, and Banaras. The Government of India is still considering the Higher Education Commission of India (HECI) to replace UGC. A doctoral and post-doctoral scholarship of ₹725 crores each year is provided to those who pass the JRF in the National Eligibility Test by University Grants Commission. In this article, understand what UGC full form is, its role and functions, and additionally the aim and objectives of UGC or University Grants Commission.

What is UGC or University Grants Commission?

University Grants Commission, abbreviated as UGC, was launched as a statutory association under the UGC Act (1956).

  • It makes sure to synchronize, define, and sustain higher education norms in the country.
  • UGC identifies universities in India and spends funds on well-known institutes and universities.
  • Its head office is located in the capital city of India, New Delhi.
  • The additional 6 regional offices are located in Guwahati, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Pune, Bengaluru, and Bhopal.
  • The full form of UGC is University Grants Commission.

When was UGC Established?

Below are the important events that occurred during the establishment of the University Grants Commission from 1945 to 2022.

Year Significant event of UGC
1945 First time UGC was established to handle the work of the Central Universities of Delhi, Banaras, and Aligarh.
1947 University Grants Commission’s responsibilities got expanded.
1949 A proposal was created to rebuild a UGC equivalent to the United Kingdom.
1952 The government finally decided that UGC would handle all donations to higher education organizations and universities.
1953 University Grants Commission came into existence during an inauguration held by Maulana Abul Kalam Azad on 28 December 1953.
1956 UGC evolved as a statutory institution upon enacting the “University Grants Commission Act, 1956.
1994 – 1995 UGC decentralized its functions by establishing six provincial headquarters.
2015 The Indian government set a National Institutional Ranking Framework which ranked all academic universities by 2016.
2022 M Jagadesh Kumar was appointed as the UGC chairman.

Aim and Objectives of UGC

UGC has a remarkable reputation as it is the exclusive grant-offering agency in India that has two major accountabilities: the first is to supply funds and the second is to coordinate, determine, and maintain institution standards where higher education is provided.

  • University Grants Commission offers recognition to universities of India.
  • They are responsible for setting up criteria for examinations like the CSIR UGC NET, UGC NET, and ICAR NET.
  • UGC needs to maintain an annual report once laid down by the Central Government before Parliament houses.

Functions and Role of UGC in Higher Education

The functions and role of UGC in higher education include defining and supporting criteria for education, evaluation, and research in universities. The UGC’s declaration includes the following:

  • Keep track of developments in scholarly and college teaching; pay subsidies to colleges and universities.
  • Formulating rules on minimum criteria of teaching.
  • Acting as an essential relation between the institutions, State, and the Union Governments of higher education.
  • Recommending the Central and State governments on the actions required to improve the teaching status of the university.
  • Facilitating and harmonizing university education.

Composition of University Grants Commission

The Central Government appoints the members of the UGC. The Chairman should not be from among the federal or State government’s officers. Following are all the members of UGC that play a major role in accomplishing the commission’s duties.

  • Chairman
  • Vice-Chairman
  • The Central Government designates ten other members.
  • Two members are selected from the Central Government officers.
  • At least 4 members must be university professors during their election time.

The other associates are selected from individuals who:

  • Are either familiar with or possess experience in commerce, agriculture, forestry, or industry;
  • Belong to educated occupations; doctors, lawyers, and engineers;
  • Can be Universities Vice-Chancellors or famous educationists or have earned high scholarly distinctions.

UGC Regulated Universities Types

UGC regulates the following university types. Presently, there are four types of universities: private, deemed, State, and Central.

Private universities Deemed universities State universities Central universities or Union universities
UGC approves them It is an independent status granted by the Department of Higher Education on the advice of the UGC under Section 3 of the UGC Act. Operated by the state government and territories. These are founded by a Parliament act under the knowledge of the Department of Higher Education in the Ministry of Education.
They can offer degrees but cannot have off-campus affiliated colleges. Indian Institute of Science was the first deemed institute granted on 12 May 1958. The Universities of Madras, Mumbai, and Calcutta shared the oldest establishment date in 1857.
There are 421 private universities on the UGC list as of 23 August 2022. 50 universities are deemed under UGC as of 24 August 2022. There are 456 state universities under UGC as of 23 August 2022. UGC published 55 central universities as of 18 October 2022.

UGC STRIDE – Meaning and Definition

STRIDE, or Scheme for Trans-Disciplinary Research for India’s Developing Economy, supports national and local research schemes, is socially applicable and locally need-based and effective internationally.

Elements of STRIDE
Element 1 Element 2 Element 3
Law for undertaking research by raising, counselling, and assisting students in creating real-life explanations for matters within or outside the country.


It offers donations of up to Rs. 1 crore.

Laws for improving skills to solve problems via sociable invention.


Enhancing citizens’ well-being through action study, which ultimately counts in growing the country’s overall economy.


Donate amount between Rs. 50 lakh – 1 crore.

Providing funds to Human Sciences and Humanities Research Projects through nationally connected scientists of top organizations.

STRIDE is framed by UGC and is a manual for Student Induction Programme. The programs are conducted before the beginning of classes and benefit new learners to feel satisfied in the unique circumstances.

The purpose of the STRIDE Scheme is:

  • Teaching the values and culture of the respective institution.
  • Offering exposure to organizations to have a bigger plan and self-questioning.
  • Supporting students to make bonds with fellow mates and faculty members.

Limitations and Issues with UGC

Central authority decreases the institute’s autonomy by lowering the freedom of choosing courses and grading criteria for the university. This way, any prominent university loses its self-creativity and liberation.

  • Regulation has resulted in a demand for more development in the education of several universities.
  • Involvement of politics in UGC judgment and unpredictability of action caused the abolition of the 4-year course program at Delhi University.
  • It does not have the right to adopt new higher education processes to enhance international student potency and establishment.
  • UGC acts as an ad hoc working system with no integration because of an absence of awareness about provincial offices, bureaus, fields, and activities.


Candidates preparing for UPSC or any higher-level Government exam should comprehensively analyze the topic. UGC UPSC comes under the GS Paper 2 section of Education, and aspirants should be thorough about the entire topic as it is an integral portion of the UPSC Syllabus.

Candidates should cover the topic for the upcoming exam. The questions can be asked in both the Prelims and Mains sections. Aspirants must possess an in-depth knowledge of the topic such as the UGC’s origin, aim, objectives, functions, and roles.

UGC UPSC Questions

Candidates studying for competitive exams must check out the  UPSC questions on the University Grants Commission and their solutions. These questions must be revised after thoroughly comprehending the whole topic.

Question: Which of the following is tasked with the duty of coordination and quality of higher education in India? (A) Bar Council of India, (B) University Grants Commission,  (C) Association of Indian Universities, (D) NITI Aayog

Answer: (Option B) The University Grants Commission is a statutory association established by the Parliament Act in 1956 for the coordination, commitment, and supervision of standards of university education.

Question: The University Grants Commission has the following responsibilities: (1) Monitoring developments in university and collegiate education; paying donations to the colleges. (2) Formulating regulations on minimum benchmarks of education. (3) Instruct the Central and State governments on the actions required to improve education in universities. (4) Specifying and upholding standards of teaching, examination, and research in universities.

Which of the given statements is correct? (A) 2, 3 and 4, (B) 1, 3 and 4, (C) 1, 2 and 3, (D) All of the options

Answer: (Option D) All of the options

The University Grants Commission’s mandate includes the following:

  • Encouraging and conforming university education.
  • Determining and supporting benchmarks of teaching, examination and analysis in institutes.
  • Articulating rules on minimum standards of education. Hence statement 2 is correct.
  • Monitoring expansions in institute education and collegiate; spending funding to the academies and universities.
  • Serving as a crucial link between the Union and State governments and higher education organizations.
  • Urging the State and the Central governments on the measures necessary to improve university education.
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