RD and PR varsity likely in N-K backward district

It requires 200 to 300 acres and an initial grant of Rs 250 crore

 The proposed Karnataka State University for Rural Development and Panchayat Raj, in all probability, will be set up in one of the backward districts of North Karnataka and it may become functional in a year’s time. 

The university aims to achieve three main objectives—impart formal education to students in rural development, serve as research-cum-centre of excellence and develop a cadre of managers in micro finance.

Experts’ panel

According to official sources, the experts committee which has been set up by the RD and PR department to prepare a report as to how the university should shape up, is looking for about 200 acres to 300 acres of land in Koppal, Gadag and Bagalkot districts.

The committee is headed by retired chief secretary S V Ranganath and has 12 members including retired officials Yellappa Reddy, R B Agawane and Jamal besides a host of academicians.

The panel may submit its recommendations to the government in a month’s time.A draft bill, regarding the manner in which the university should be structured and function, will also be submitted to the government.

It is learnt that initially, around Rs 250 crore would be required to establish the university campus. The department, which has an annual outlay of not less than Rs 20,000 crore, is confident of setting aside the required sum for the varsity. 

The committee members have visited various educational institutions like Gandhi Gram University, Tamil Nadu; The Institute of Rural Management, Gujarat and Tiss, Mumbai to study the best practices followed by them. 

Karnataka will be the first state in the country to have a specialised university for RD and PR and the credit of planning it goes to RD and PR Minister H K Patil.

According to him, a strong and dedicated institution should be there which can give academic as well as practical training for students to manage rural development which includes management of water resources to agriculture to horticulture to public properties in a village. He said that the place where university would be set up, will be finalised soon.

“Funds not a problem”

Patil said “Getting funds for the varsity will not be a problem. We need trained people to make government schemes such as NREGA a success. We are not interested in just generating managers. But we want villagers to come nearer to the technology and adopt the best practices in various fields.”

Sources said that if the varsity was located in the Hyderabad-Karnataka region, it would be able to get special grants from the Centre too. The committee may favour offering only postgraduation courses, they said. Students with any academic background would be allowed to join the courses. 

However, Yellappa Reddy said that even diploma and certificate courses would have to be launched to make even school dropouts to study agriculture and related subjects. Emphasis should be given to conduct research, provide knowledge about technology and also develop economic entrepreneurship. 

Building managerial skills

Reddy said “It is people who are the custodians of public properties. They should be trained to manage them scientifically. Capacity building is a big challenge and managerial skills are lacking. Students will have to work with farmers. Even a gram panchayat member should be able to enrol here to study the subject of his choice.”

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