New Delhi,17 Apr:Shri Arjun Singh, Minister for Human Resource Development will lay foundation stone of Indira Gandhi National Tribal University on April 19, 2008 at Amarkantak in Madhya Pradesh.Enrolment of the vast tribal population in higher education is a matter of concern – the Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) is only 6.61 compared to the national GER of 11.6. The GER of girls from the tribal population is even lower (4.69). Low access to higher education for the tribal youth puts them at disadvantage in higher studies. This results in low educational and economic status of tribal communities.
There is high concentration of tribal population in the North-Eastern States, and in the area comprising parts of Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Orissa, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Gujarat. While North-Eastern States have at least one Central University in each State, there is no Central University specifically catering to the population in the other tribal concentrated area.
2. The Indira Gandhi National Tribal University Act, 2007 has, therefore, been enacted by Parliament to establish and incorporate a teaching and affiliating University, by the name of Indira Gandhi National Tribal University, at Amarkantak, to facilitate and promote avenues of higher education and research facilities primarily for the tribal population in the country.
3. The University with jurisdiction all over India, would be fully funded by the Central Government through the University Grants Commission, like other Central Universities. While this University would be broadly on the pattern of the existing Central Universities, special provisions have been envisaged to accommodate the features as are peculiar to such a University. The salient features of the proposed University would be as under:
(i) Besides its headquarters at Amarkantak, the University shall have such number of regional centres and campuses in the tribal areas as it may deem fit. This would satify the demand for universities in different tribal concentrated areas.
(ii) The objects of the University shall include, inter-alia, promoting studies and research in tribal art, culture, tradition, language, custom, medicinal systems, forest based economic activities, including special studies in the flora and fauna, and advancements in technologies relating to natural resources of the tribal areas.
(iii)It shall make special provisions for the promotion of educational, economic interests and welfare of the members belonging to the Scheduled Tribes by providing adequate percentage of seats in the matters of admission, of posts in the matter of employment and other benefits.
(iv) The University shall have power to establish at least one school in every Regional Centre, as a model school for the schools of the region.
(v) All authorities of the University like Court, Executive Council, Academic Council, College Development Council, Boards of Studies, Academic Boards, Management Boards and Finance Committee etc. shall have adequate number of members from amongst the Scheduled Tribes.
4. Generally the Universities are established in big metro or urban areas, and there are advantages of locating the universities in such areas. But the true flavour of a tribal university will come only if it is located in the midst of tribal areas. The very purpose of the establishment of this University is to make it a prime-mover for development in the tribal areas hitherto neglected. The seat of the University has accordingly been located at Amarkantak which is a central point in the tribal areas stretching between Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Maharashtra.
5. Situated at an altitude of 1065 mt. at the meeting point of the Vindhya and the Satpura mountain ranges amongst sylvan surroundings, Amarkantak is a great pilgrim centre as well as a source of the rivers Narmada and Sone. While the Narmada flows westwards from Amarkantak, the Sone flows towards the East. Amarkantak is indeed blessed by Nature. Holy ponds, lofty hills, forested surroundings, breathtakingly beautiful waterfalls and an ever-pervading air of serenity make Amarkantak an ideal seat of higher learning.
6. The University has been named after late Smt. Indira Gandhi in recognition of the deep empathy and concern for the problems of tribals she had throughout her life and the very meaningful initiatives taken by her for the welfare of the tribals.