Ideal Seat Of Learning For Victims of Growth !

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New Delhi, Apr 17 (UNI) Human Resource Development Minister Arjun Singh will lay the foundation stone of Indira Gandhi National Tribal University at Amarkantak, Madhya Pradesh on Saturday, HRD officials said today.

The University has been named in recognition of the late Prime Minister's ''deep empathy and concern'' and ''meaningful initiatives'' for tribals-- seen by some as victims rather than beneficiaries of growth.

Tribals' Gross Enrolment Ratio is estimated at 6.61-- 4.69 for tribal girls-- as against a national average of 11.6, putting them at a clear disadvantage in higher education and economic status.

India's tribal population is scattered across central, southern and northeastern parts-- Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Orissa, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Gujarat and Northeastern States.

Northeastern States have at least one Central University each.

The new campus is intended to serve as a unique centre of higher learning for tribal groups.

The Indira Gandhi National Tribal University Act 2007 was enacted by Parliament to establish and incorporate a teaching and affiliating University at Amarkantak to facilitate and promote higher education and research primarily for tribals.

To be fully funded by the Central government through the University Grants Commission, the University will have its jurisdiction all over India.

Although broadly patterned after Central Universities, the new University is envisioned to have special provisions ''to accommodate the features as are peculiar to such a University,'' the statement said.

Its salient features: -- Having regional centres and campuses in tribal areas to meet demand; -- Promoting studies and research in tribal art, culture, tradition, language, custom, medicine, forest economy, flora and fauna, advancements in tribal technologies; -- Making special provisions for promotion of Scheduled Tribes' educational, economic interests and welfare ''by providing adequate percentage'' of seats in admission and posts in employment and other benefits; -- Empowering it to set up at least one school in every Regional Centre as a model for other schools; -- Enlisting in various University bodies-- Court, Executive Council, Academic Council, College Development Council, Boards of Studies, Academic Boards, Management Boards and Finance Committee-- adequate number of Scheduled Tribes members.

Explaining its location at Amakantak, the Ministry said it was intended to advance the very goal of making ''it a prime-mover for development in the tribal areas hitherto neglected.'' Amarkantak is a central point in the tribal areas stretching between Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Maharashtra.

Situated at an altitude of 1065 metres at the meeting point of the Vindhya and the Satpura mountain ranges amid sylvan surroundings, Amarkantak is a pilgrim centre and source of the Narmada and the Sone.

Holy ponds, lofty hills, forest surroundings, breathtaking waterfalls and an air of serenity all help make Amarkantak an ideal seat of higher learning, the statement said.

UNI MJ RP GC1706

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