NITI Aayog has identified 117 districts as ‘Aspirational Districts’. These districts have been selected on the basis of composite index which includes published data of deprivation enumerated under Socio-Economic Caste Census, Health &Nutrition, Education and Basic Infrastructure.During the second phase of the Centrally Sponsored Scheme of Rashtriya Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan (RUSA), central assistance is provided for opening of new Model Degree Colleges(MDCs) in ‘Aspirational Districts’ identified by NITI Aayog and in unserved & underserved districts in North Eastern and Himalayan States. The Project Approval Board (PAB) of RUSA has approved central support for one MDC each in 70 such districts including 6 in Odisha.An Expert Committee constituted by the University Grants Commission (UGC) had identified 374 Educationally Backward Districts (EBDs) where Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) in higher education was less than the national average of 12.4% based on 2001 census data.During the first phase of RUSA, central assistance to States has been provided for creation of one Model Degree College each in 60 EBDs including 8 in Odisha.
The central support provided under the component of new MDCs is infrastructural in nature in which funds are released for creation of Colleges with requisite infrastructure such as appropriate number of class rooms, library, laboratory, faculty rooms, toilet blocks and other essential requirements for technologically advanced facilities. Further, under this component, a commitment is given by the State Governments that all recurring expenditure (including salaries) in respect of the MDC being established, will be borne by the respective State Government.Additionally, under a separate component of RUSA viz., Faculty Recruitment Support, central support is provided for creation of additional posts of Assistant Professors subject to specific norms and approved period of the scheme (i.e. upto 31st March 2020). Further, under this component, a commitment is required to be given by the State Governments to take over liability of such faculty positions after 31st March 2020.This information was given by the Minister of State (HRD), Dr. Satya Pal Singh today in a written reply to a Lok Sabha question.