Union Human Resource Development Minister Smriti Irani on Tuesday announced the setting up of a separate department in the North Eastern Hill University (NEHU) here to study the history, culture and philosophy of tribes of the northeastern states.The minister also announced that a coaching centre would be set up at NEHU for SCs, STs, minorities as well as female students to facilitate their entry into the central services, and for remedial coaching for NET examination and others."Even when we have a lot of tribes across the northeast, I believe there has never been an attempt to institutionalise studies of tribal culture, history and philosophy."I am hopeful that after my conversation with the vice chancellor of NEHU, they will establish a separate department to study the tribal history, culture and philosophy," Irani said addressing the 23rd convocation at NEHU."The northeast has a vibrant culture, a philosophy that can be much known across the nation and the world, and a history, which is rich in its contribution to mankind. But the challenge is, do we have an institutionalised mechanism to study this history, culture and philosophy?" she added.
Irani said the proposed department would attract students from across the world and rest of India who have keen interest to understand and document the socio, economic, political and cultural history of the northeast.Eulogizing NEHU for its best standards in providing education and research, Irani said: "This university has a legacy to be preserved, a legacy to bring forth to the world and a legacy that will harbour change not only in the northeast but across the nation."To increase participation of women and by disabled students in PhD programmes, the minister revealed the central government's decision to relax the time required for women and disabled students to complete their higher education."The government of India has proposed that in the forthcoming commission of the University Grants Commission (UGC), it will give impetus to increase participation in PhD programmes by women and by differently-abled students," she said."We will ensure that instead of two years, women and differently-abled students be given three years to submit their MPhil certification. Additionally, they will be given eight years instead of six years for submitting their thesis," Irani said."Women who have to migrate due to marriage will be given migration facilities to ensure they can pursue their PhD anywhere in the country," Irani said.