Bihar’s Rajendra Agriculture University set to become central varsity

NEW DELHI: The Centre and Bihar government will on January 25 sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to convert the existing Rajendra Agriculture University (RAU) at Pusa in Samastipur district of the state, into a central university.

The conversion will make it possible for the agricultural university to get financial support of Rs 400 crore during the 12th plan period (till March, 2017).

Union agriculture minister Radha Mohan Singh on Thursday wrote to the Bihar chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi, appreciating the decision of the state government to finally agree for the MoU after overcoming legal difficulties. The MoU will pave the way for an act of Parliament, necessary for converting it into a central university.

The pact will be signed by the agriculture education and research department of Bihar government and ICAR (Indian Council of Agricultural Research), department of agricultural research and education of the Union agriculture ministry, in the presence of Singh and Manjhi in Patna.

The proposal to convert the RAU into Rajendra Central Agriculture University (RCAU) had been pending since 2009 when the Planning Commission had given its formal consent to this effect. It could not proceed further due to a number of court cases from employees of the existing university. The legal issues will now be handled by the central government.

Besides, the central government will come up with two new agriculture universities in Andhra Pradesh and Rajasthan and two new horticultural universities in Telangana and Haryana. The government has already allocated Rs 200 crore as initial assistance for setting up these four universities.

There is also a plan to set up new agriculture research institutes on the lines of Indian Agriculture Research Institutes (IARI) in Jharkhand and Assam. Financial provision of Rs 100 crore was earmarked for this purpose during the government’s last budget in July, 2014.

In addition, the government is also coming up with an Indian Institute of Agricultural Biotechnology at Ranchi in Jharkhand. The institute is being set up to give thrust to biotechnology in agriculture.

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