VARANASI Universities and Educational Institutions should not limit themselves to the limits of their campuses, in fact they should go out and work on the ground for the uplift and development of the downtrodden and the deprived. This was the message of Hon’ble Governor of Uttar Pradesh, Smt. Anandiben Patel, to the Vice-Chancellors, senior academicians and members of the teaching community who had gathered at the nationwide launch function of the Dr. Ambedkar Centre of Excellence in Banaras Hindu University on Friday. Addressing the function at the Shatabdi Krishi Prekshagrih of Institute of Agricultural Sciences, the Governor underlined the need of universities and educational institutions in educating, empowering and uplifting those who have been left behind in the journey of development. She called upon teachers, students and researchers to go to villages and backward areas and interact with women, children and poor, to better understand their issues and problems and take steps suggesting ways to address them. She said that every institution should adopt a village and Anganwadis and work for their development as being done in Uttar Pradesh. By doing this we shall actually able to see the transformation in lives of people who still struggle for a better life and basic amenities. Speaking about the National Education Policy 2020, the Governor said it lays out a plan for empowering and educating the socially backwards and focus on learning in the mother tongue is an example to that. If a child gets his/her education in mother tongue, chances of better and effective learning are brighter, this is what the NEP 2020 talks about, and once children get a better education, they definitely strive on the path of growth and development. Uplifting children will, as a result, translate to the development and progress of society and the country, said the Governor.

The Governor and Hon’ble Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment, Government of India, launched the Dr. Ambedkar Centre of Excellence, which will provide free coaching to the Scheduled Caste students. The Centers are being set up in 31 Central Universities, where 100 students will be getting coaching classes from experts and renowned professionals. Union Ministry for Social Justice and Empowerment, through the Dr. Ambedkar Foundation will provide Rs. 75 lakh annually to the universities for smooth functioning of the Centre. MoUs were signed and exchanged between the Dr. Ambedkar Foundation, New Delhi, and Central Universities for setting up DACE and Dr. Ambedkar Chairs.

Addressing the gathering, Union Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment, Dr. Virendra Kumar said that his ministry under the visionary leadership of Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi ji, has a number of schemes for upliftment of the downtrodden and the backward. He added that these two shcemes of DACE and Dr. Ambedkar Chairs are the two most important initiatives in order to achieve the goal of Social Justice. The minister said that these two schemes will not only empower the students, but their families too. This in turn will take the society and ultimately the country forward. He called upon all those attending the function, to go back with a pledge to encourage, support and motivate the talented students in their respective institutions. He also highlighted various welfare programmes being run by Government of India for socially backward. He added that it is the vision and leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi ji which has made so many positive outcomes possible in uplifting the SC/ST and other backwards groups.

Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment, Government of India, Km. Pratima Bhowmik said she hadn’t even imagined that she would be standing in a great institution like BHU and addressing the top academicians of the country. She said this is reflective of the transformation we are witnessing in the country under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi Ji. She urged all the members of teaching community to take India to new heights of glory and growth as they have the ability to do that by educating students and preparing the future leaders.

Calling the launch of the two schemes from BHU a memorable occasion, Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment, Government of India, A Narayanaswamy said this is the right decision taken in the right direction and at the right moment. He added the schemes will pave way for realizing the call of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, which is “Sabka Sath, Sabka Vikas, Sabka Vishwas and Sabka Prayas”.

Vice-Chancellor, BHU, Prof. Sudhir K Jain said thanked the government of India and the Ministry for choosing BHU for the launch of these shcemes as it the best place for this remarkable occasion, being the capital of knowledge. Invoking the founder of Banaras Hindu University, Bharat Ratna Mahamana Pr. Madan Mohan Malaviya ji, Prof. Jain said that it was the vision of the great educationist, that he established an inclusive institution like BHU. He invited all the dignitaries attending the event to have a look at the university with a wider perspective and not just with a view of attending the function. The Vice-Chancellor said Mahamana set up a great education system like BHU and today when we look at the National Education Policy 2020, we realize the greatness of Malaviya ji, who had thought of the similar ideas more than a century ago.

Special guest of the function renowned educator and founder of Super 30 group, Anand Kumar, hailed the scheme saying, it was a major step in bringing equality in the society. He said that the only way to fulfil the dream of Baba Saheb Bhim Rao Ambedker was by having equality in the society. Kumar recalled the days of his student life when getting quality books and content to study was a big struggle and he would sneak into the Central Library of BHU to study. He said he had never thought that one day he would be standing in the auditorium just opposite the very same Central Library and share his views. He exuded confidence that the scheme will be a changemaker and bring about real change in the society.

Secretary, Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Government of India, R. Subrahmanyam gave an overview about the Dr. Ambedkar Centre of Excellence scheme. He said that the ministry has been constantly working for uplift and empowerment of students from socially backward sections and this scheme is another major step in this regard. He informed that ministry is currently assisting nearly 2 crore students every year to make them have easy access to quality education.

Prof. A. K. Singh, Registrar, BHU, exchanged the MoU of DACE with Director, Dr. Ambedkar Foundation. From Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi, Prof. Santishree Pandit, Vice-Chancellor, exchanged the MoU. Several other vice-chancellors and representatives from different universities were present for the MoU signing and exchange ceremony.

On the occasion presentations were made by Dr. Neetu Jain from Dr. B. R. Ambedkar Chair, Indian Institute for Public Administration and Dr. Sanjay Kumar Dhyani, from Hemwati Nandan Bahuguna Garhwal University for the way forward about the schemes in their respective institutions.

Prof. Sangeeta Pandit conducted the programme. Vikas Trivedi, Director, Dr. Ambedkar Foundation, New Delhi, delivered the vote of thanks.

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