By Bizodisha Bureau, Bhubaneswar, September 2, 2020: The Odisha Cabinet on Wednesday made about 20 crucial decisions to bring reforms on some issues in key sectors.

In a significant move, the cabinet got rid of Senate, which is the highest authority of a University, over the years as it has become dysfunctional. Syndicate henceforth will function as the highest authority of a University. Constitution of the Syndicate will be restructured to make it more functional and professional. In the restructured Syndicate, there will be adequate representation of Chancellor as well as the State Government.

Approving a proposal of the Higher Education Department to promulgate ‘The Odisha Universities (Amendment) Ordinance 2020 while amending the Odisha Universities Act, 1989 and repealing the Ravenshaw University Act, 2005, the cabinet also decided to repeal the Ravenshaw University Act, 2005 to bring all Universities under one Act. Ravenshaw University will now come under the purview of the Odisha Universities Act, 1989 and continue to function as usual.

Briefing media about the decisions of the State Cabinet meeting held under the chairmanship of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik through video conference, State Chief Secretary Asit Kumar Tripathy said at present, Ravenshaw University is a unitary University which was established under the Ravenshaw University Act, 2005. On the other hand, Gangadhar Meher University and Khalikote University, which are also unitary Universities, were established under the Odisha Universities Act, 1989.

He also stated that there have been extensive amendments of the Odisha Universities Act, 1989 that include four year tenure for Vice Chancellors instead of earlier three year to enable them make some long-term contribution to the University and enhancement of upper age limit to 67 from 65.

At present, the State Government does not have a say in the three-member Search Committee, constituted by the Chancellor, for selection of Vice Chancellors. Therefore, an eminent academician, nominated by the State Government, shall be made a member of the Search Committee in place of the nominee of the Syndicate of the University concerned, Tripathy said.

In yet another interesting decision, Heritage Cabinet passed a resolution to request the Government of India to give Odissi music a classical status.

The agricultural cabinet discussed details on the Kharif 2020 preparedness was discussed in detail amid the pandemic and flood.

Refuting the reported shortage of fertilizer, officials informed the agriculture cabinet that Odisha has so far lifted 6.66 lakh metric tonne (MT) of various fertilizers compared to 5.56 lakh MT lifted in August 2019 and 6.15 lakh MT in August 2018. As far as urea is concerned, around 2.9 lakh MT has been lifted by August against 1.72 lakh MT lifted by August, last year. There has been an increase of 150 per cent in lifting of urea by farmers, agriculture secretary, Saurabh Garg informed the agriculture cabinet.

The state government has targeted to take up cultivation over 61.61 lakh hectares during the current Kharif season, around 55.52 lakh hectares have been covered so far.

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