BHUBANESWAR: The Ministry of Human Resources Development (MHRD) has decided to provide educational access to students in rural parts of Odisha through its new component ‘Equity Initiatives’ under Rashtriya Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan (RUSA).
MHRD has approved provision of Rs 5 crore to Utkal, Berhampur, Sambalpur, Fakir Mohan and North Odisha universities for implementing the new component in affiliated colleges. While Central Government would contribute Rs 3 crore, the rest would be borne by the State as per 60:40 funds sharing basis under RUSA.
The money will be used to improve enrolment of SC/ST students against specified per cent of reservation in the State and leadership development of educational administration including encouragement for women faculty. Utkal University has been chosen to oversee implementation of the component in all the varsities. This was decided at Project Approval Board meeting of RUSA held recently. Sources said the ‘Equity Initiatives’ will benefit students of Khurda, Berhampur, Sambalpur, Balasore and Mayurbhanj districts.
The MHRD has also approved Rs 20 crore for development of Jagannath Sanskrit University and Rs 28 crore for infrastructure development of 14 degree colleges in the State. The Ministry had earlier decided that 21 degree colleges in as many districts will be provided funds of Rs 2 crore each for infrastructure development. Of 21 colleges, only 14 either have valid National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) grade or submitted their Letter of Intent (LoI) for NAAC assessment that makes them eligible for the grants. While nine colleges have submitted LoI including BJB College and Sailabala Women’s College, the rest have valid B grade.
On the other hand, the MHRD has cancelled approval of Shyama Prasad Degree College at Malkangiri and Baba Sahed Ambedkar Degree College at Gajapati for infrastructure grants.
In January this year, the Project Approval Board of RUSA had decided to provide infrastructure grants of Rs 100 crore to Utkal University, Sambalpur University, Berhampur University, Biju Patnaik University of Technology (BPUT) and Veer Surendra Sai University of Technology (VSSUT). Each university will get Rs 20 crore while Rs 10 crore was sanctioned for first phase work.
Meanwhile, the Higher Education Department has asked Vice-Chancellors of the five universities to submit their plan proposals regarding ‘Equity Initiatives’ soon.