Sunday, June 8, 2014

Letter to HRD Minister: Establishing National Rural University in Kalahandi

Dear Honorable HRD Minister Ms Irani,
In the manifesto BJP has promised for Institute of Technology for Rural Development as well as para-medical college. However, this can be combined together to establish National Rural University.

For example, for various socially challenged or weak groups, the Union Government of India has been establishing specialised Institutions/Universities for minority (such as Aligarh Muslim University), tribal (such as Indira Gandhi National Tribal University), Women, etc under central university act. On the other hand institutions such as IITs, NITs, AIIMS, IIM, Central Universities, etc have been being established towards generating high quality human resource and research in the country.

Most of these high quality institutions are located in either state capital region or large urban area. Despite India has higher percentage of rural than urban population, the number of urban students qualifying into high quality institutions such as IIT, NIT, AIIMS, IIM, IISc, Central Universities etc compared to their rural counterpart clearly shows that the urban population has an upper hand to enter these institutions due to (i) easy access to these institution for reference and guidance, (ii) various available coaching centers in the urban area to train and qualify for the national entrance test, (iii) better awareness and economic condition of urban population to support their children through coaching, and last but not the least (iv) Government apathy towards rural and backward cluster while establishing such high quality institution across the nation.

Due to lack of accessibility, awareness and economic condition, large section of rural populations irrespective of communities are relatively left in void compared to their urban counterparts when it comes to access to quality education, bringing differences in economical conditions and opportunities, which finally encourages large rural migration to urban areas from rural and backward cluster of India.

Kalahandi is known for rural mass migration, whereas major cities in the nation are getting increasingly populated and polluted due to large rural migration, some of the report claims these rural migrations to urban area in India could be one of the highest in the world.

Additionally, large part of the nation is rural areas and existing methods and technology applied to solve rural problems is equally non-reliable and inefficient like found to solve urban problem, which justify the need for modern new technology, creativity and innovation to solve rural problem through Rural University.

Due to inadequate & poor quality of human resource generation, social imbalance is increasing in backward clusters of the nation, which is encouraging Maoists activities and other social dissidents. This is being growingly witnessed in Kalahandi and neighboring backward cluster since past decade.

Similarly, large part of the rural area, especially backward pockets and cluster in the nation, need quality human resource generation to boost local development by triggering growth of local economy.

Economists also agree investment while establishing National/Central Universities mainly goes to construction sectors, which directly boost local economy. Such investment is always given to metro or large urban areas like Bhubaneswar of the country by totally ignoring rural India like Kalahandi, though quality can still be maintained while establishing such institution in rural and backward cluster.

For solving rural problems and generating high quality human resource in the socially backward rural pockets, India should build “National Rural University” in the line of Central University in each rural, backward and economically poor pocket and cluster across the nation.

Kalahandi is right place to start for the proposed “National Rural University” or “National Institute of Rural Technology” because
o   It is among the ten most backward district and among five most backward parliament constituency in the nation
o   Kalahandi is well known for backwardness, poverty and rural population
o   It is centrally located among all the backward KBK districts
o   It is also the central point while including other rural and backward region in Odisha such as Boudh, Kandhamal, Bargarh and Gajpati districts,
o   Thus, Kalahandi is the central point for western bordering Odisha in air distance that is rural and backward.
o   The Food Security Atlas of Rural Orissa 2008 states that in 2005-06, theinfant mortality rate in Kalahandi region stood at 119 per 1,000 live births,the highest in the world; the district also has the highest malaria mortality in the region

Thank you and best regards
Digambara Patra

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