HRD minister Pokhriyal asks central institutes to adopt and transform villages
Human resource development minister Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ has tasked central institutions, including the prestigious Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) and Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs), with adopting and transforming “one or two villages” in their neighbourhood and spell out at least one “extraordinary” achievement they will aim for, a person familiar with the matter said.
The minister wants the institutions to finalise the “actionables” they will target over the next 100 days, one year and five years, said the person who requested anonymity.
India has 82 technical institution funded by the HRD ministry besides several other central institutions such as the School of Planning and Architecture and National Institute of Industrial Engineering. India also has 42 central universities in different parts of the country.
A former chief minister of Uttarakhand, Pokhriyal met the heads of these institutions over the past one week and asked each of them to think of at least one “out-of-the-box idea” that they plan to execute over the coming months, the person said.
“The University Grants Commission will write to these institutions shortly asking for their feedback about the meeting and the action plan they have finalised,” the person said.
A second person present in the review meetings said Pokhriyal told the heads of these central institutions that they were among the “few hundred out of 130 crore Indians” who had been chosen for the task, and they needed to think beyond the routine work they do.
“He also suggested that each institution should adopt one or two village in their neighbourhood and use their expertise to transform the life of people, especially the young, by providing them access to education and other resources that they lack,” the second person said.
Pokhriyal also asked different institutions to list out the things they plan to do over the next 100 days.
“A detailed action plan for first 100 days is also being worked out at the ministry level and it will be shared with the different institutions,” the first person said.
Details have also been sought from these institutions on what they intend to do over the next five years.
“But these works have to be divided into a calendar year. There will be a yearly review of the plan proposed for the full five years,” the second person said.
IIM-Rohtak’s director Dheeraj Sharma said the minister stressed the need for research in subjects such as agriculture, tribal affairs, the digital economy and entrepreneurship.
“There was a special focus on the region-based uniqueness of each IIM and how it can be exploited to benefit people,” Sharma said.
Educationists say the real challenge for Pokhriyal is to save the existing infrastructure of the education system. “Whatever he is proposing is available in the present system in one or the other form. His challenge is to ensure proper execution. The need of the hour is to save the existing infrastructure of the education system, which is crumbling under the weight of ad hocism,” said Sidharth Mishra, chairman of the journalism school at Delhi-based Vivekananda Institute of Professional Studies.