New Delhi: The government on Wednesday introduced a Bill in the Rajya Sabha for establishment of the National Commission for Higher Education and Research (NCHER), an overarching body in higher education to oversee universities and technical institutes.

The Higher Education and Research Bill, 2011, introduced by Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal, seeks to promote autonomy of higher educational institutions and universities for free pursuit of knowledge and innovation.

The NCHER will subsume all existing regulatory bodies, including UGC, AICTE and Council of Distance Education.

The Bill also provides for comprehensive and integrated growth of higher education and research keeping in view the global standard of educational and research practices.

The body may comprise 70 members, with representatives from every state and regulatory bodies.

The proposal for the establishment of the NCHER has itsorigin in the address of the President to Parliament on June, 4, 2009 where the government declared its intent to establish an overarching body in higher education to reform the current regulatory structure.

The proposal was based on the recommendations of the National Knowledge Commission and Prof Yash Pal Committee.

Prof Yash Pal Committee had recommended NCHER to replace the existing regulatory bodies.

NCHER will cover all areas and disciplines, including general, technical and professional education, and also some research components in the field of medicine.