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Reforms from Farm to College Campus

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Arun Sahoo, Minister for Higher Education & Agriculture

Minister for higher education(Reforms from Farm to College Campus) and agriculture has proclaimed a major shake-up in the higher education(Reforms from Farm to College Campus) system.  As per the minister’s announcement, elected representatives- MLAs included will no longer figure in the governing body in degree colleges of the state. The MLAs would be supplanted with educationists or experts with ample experience in handling management affairs at institutions.

“No elected representatives will be in the governing body of degree colleges(Reforms from Farm to College Campus). Parents, academicians or persons having experience in managing educational institutions will be included in the college(Reforms from Farm to College Campus) body”, Sahoo said while addressing a state-level convention on ‘Role of Parents in Higher Education(Reforms from Farm to College Campus)’ convened by Odisha Abhibhabak Mahasangha.

A notification for the new norms is expected to be put out shortly. The reforms are aimed at cleaning up the mess in higher education system amid allegations flying thick and fast that certain politicians are engendering problems for the college management with their prejudiced decisions.

Educationists opined the new announcement by the minister will help the education system rid itself of the unwarranted interference from the elected legislators. At times even the college(Reforms from Farm to College Campus) principals are constrained to take independent decisions fearing backlash from the political masters. As opposed to elected representatives who are bent on pulling strings, the academicians are expected to deliver outcomes with an unbiased mind.

The minister also announced that the government will act tough on teachers who are imparting lessons at coaching classes. “Stringent action will be initiated against teachers who drawing salaries from the government are teaching at coaching centres or providing private tuitions”, Sahoo said without mincing words.

Lately, Sahoo has stolen the limelight with the ongoing ‘Krushi Odisha’. The minister vented his anguish over inadequate credit offtake by banks to the farm sector. Agriculture has an 18 percent share in the Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) and engaged about 80 percent of the population who bank on the activity for eking out their livelihoods.

Calling for a change in the mindset of bankers while dealing with farmers and the farm sector, Sahoo said Odisha is far behind other states like Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and West Bengal with regard to farm sector lending by commercial banks. Against a target of Rs 38,267.76 crore in the annual credit plan for agriculture and allied sectors in 2019-20, the achievement was Rs 14,422.2 crore which is 37.69 pc. The cooperative credit structures of the state meet more than 65 pc of the short term credit need of farmers, the minister added.

Emphasizing on extending short term credit facility to self-help groups (SHGs), including women groups, tenant farmers and oral lessees, the minister advised officers of the Agriculture department to work in close coordination with the bankers to ensure timely credit to farmers and realize the goal of doubling farmers income.

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