'Work in rural areas mandatory for research'

In its first meeting held earlier this month, the governing board of Academy of Scientific and Innovative Research (AcSIR) has made it mandatory for its PhD students to spend two months in villages to work on one of the CSIR-800 programmes seeking to increase daily income of a villager by Rs 15.

Since the students will receive credits for their on-site projects, they may put in their best efforts in using science and technology to make a difference in rural India, reliable sources told Deccan Herald.

AcSIR is a proposed university from the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research to produce 1,000 PhDs in science and 120 PhDs in engineering every year from the fifth year of its establishment.

Research students will utilise the 37 CSIR laboratories for their PhD work and seek guidance from 4,000 CSIR scientists. The degree will be awarded by the new academy.

Currently, CSIR laboratories produce 400 PhD students annually. But the degrees are awarded by universities.

However, with the government wanting to use scientific intervention to address rural issues, the proposed academy is seen as the major manpower source to realise it.

The doctoral students have to contribute in CSIR-800 programme that aims at providing a better life to 800 million people living in rural India. The focus area for their work would be value-added agriculture, low-cost housing, potable water, cheap transportation and affordable health care.

With the CSIR already having the technology, the doctoral students will have to look at implementing them in the rural setting and solve all teething problems working with organisations and state agencies.  The academy will be fully functional in the 12th plan period. But it may start enrolment for PhD by the middle of 2011 once Parliament approves the AcSIR Bill.

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