KATRA, Nov 4: Union Minister Dr Jitendra Singh said here today that Article 370 had blocked the growth of “higher” education and pushed Jammu & Kashmir seven decades back by not allowing the academic institutions and Universities to evolve at par with those in the rest of India.
Addressing the inaugural session of the three-day International Conference on Applied Biology(ICAB) – 2019 and Biotechnology at Shri Mata Vaishno Devi University (SMVDU) , Dr Jitendra Singh lamented that even though over the last five years, Prime Minister Narendra Modi gave highest priority to Jammu & Kashmir and the Modi Government went out of the way to approve new institutions of higher education in J&K, the growth of these institutions got thwarted by the vested interests using the bogey of Article 370.
He recalled that during these five years, Jammu & Kashmir was given one AIIMS, two IIM, IIT, nearly eight centrally funded Medical Colleges , AYUSH Colleges, Engineering College at Kathua under RUSA, Degree College at Paddar, Kishtwar under RUSA etc, but all these institutions, despite liberal funding from the Modi Government, failed to pick up because of lack of faculty and lack of research module.
For any University or institute of higher education to grow, Dr Jitendra Singh said, the basic prerequisites include exclusive department or streams of study for research and high standards of research publications which, in turn, depend upon eminent faculty members selected purely on the basis of merit. However, in the garb of Article 370, no eminent faculty was ready to come here, because instead of providing them incentives, they were being offered dis-incentives, he added.
Taking a dig at the votaries of Article 370, who wrongly cited the name of Maharaja Hari Singh to support their argument, Dr Jitendra Singh reminded that it was Maharaja Hari Singh who had brought Sir Ram Nath Chopra from Kolkata and offered him the facility and incentive to start Drug Research Laboratory (DRL) which is today known as Indian Institute of Integrative Medicine (IIIM) Jammu and is one of the important nationally renowned institutions of CSIR. Similarly, he added, much before independence, Maharaja Hari Singh used to ensure best of the teaching faculty from outside for the then Prince of Wales College at Jammu.
While emphasizing the need to go for the best faculty from any part of the country without any compromise, Dr Jitendra Singh suggested greater collaboration of the University with other eminent academic institutions in the region, which according to him, could help in value addition to the education standards. He also advised the SMVDU Vice Chancellor to contemplate over a proposal to set up exclusive Study Departments like “Space Technology” and “Hill/ Himalayan Studies” etc.
Vice Chancellor SMVDU, Prof Ravindra Kumar Sinha, Vice Chancellor Jammu University Prof Manoj Dhar and Prof Indu Bhushan were also present on the occasion.