Welcome to the ITBHU Chronicle, October 2011 Edition News Section.
BHU News
'Strive to make BHU world class varsity'
@ Oct 28, 2011
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TNN Sep 27, 2011, 09.52am IST

VARANASI: BHU V-C Lalji Singh on Monday said that all efforts should be made to make BHU a world class university. Singh was addressing a meeting of non-teaching staffs and officials of the varsity at Swatantrata Bhawan.

Emphasising the need to enhance communication technology and better networking for scientific exchanges and discussions for development of the varsity, the BHU V-C said, "Northern India has an immense potential and it should be tapped properly to fulfil the vision of former president APJ Abdul Kalam who wants India to be a developed nation by 2020."

He also stressed the importance of learning English saying that is the language of science, technology and development.

Disclosing his plans for development of BHU, he said that the varsity must come up with a state-of-the-art heart centre and focus on stem cell therapy and regenerative medicine.


About Prof. Lalji Singh- Vice-Chancellor, Banaras Hindu University



Padmashri Dr. Lalji Singh


Dr. Lalji Singh is the 25th Vice-Chancellor of Banaras Hindu University (BHU), Varanasi. Born on 5th July, 1947 in Jaunpur, Uttar Pradesh, Dr. Singh rose to acquire the place among the premier scientists of India. He holds the position of Bhatnagar Fellow of CSIR at Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB), Hyderabad, of which he has been Director for a long period of 11 years from 1998 to 2009. He spent 13 years in the Institute of Animal Genetics, University of Edinburgh (1974-1987) before joining CCMB.

Dr Lalji Singh obtained his M.Sc., and Ph.D (Cytogenetics) from Banaras Hindu University, which later awarded him Honorary degree of D.Sc. in the year 2004 and it's Distinguished Alumnus Award in the year 2009.

Dr. Lalji Singh has an exemplary research and professional experience of around 45 years, during which he has published more than 219 research papers in internationally reputed journals, including a full article in 'Nature' (2009) which has been also covered on the cover page of 'Nature'. His research interests include Molecular basis of Sex-determination; DNA Fingerprinting and genetic diversity; Wildlife Conservation; Human Genome Analysis and Ancient DNA Studies.


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New BHU VC Professor Lalji Singh visits South Campus
@ Oct 28, 2011
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Posted by Ratna Modak at Tuesday, September 06, 2011


New vice chancellor of Banaras Hindu University (BHU), Professor Lalji Singh visited Rajiv Gandhi South Campus at Barkachhha on August 25, 2011. In his maiden trip to South Campus, Professor Singh interacted with the faculty and staff members. He also interacted with students.

Photo: PPP Cell-BHU

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Professor DP Singh accorded warm send off
@ Oct 28, 2011
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Posted by Ratna Modak at Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Staff members of the Banaras Hindu University (BHU) accorded a warm send off to outgoing vice chancellor Professor DP Singh in Varanasi on August 23, 2011.

Photo: PPP Cell-BHU

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New vice chancellor of Banaras Hindu University (BHU) Professor Lalji Singh took over the charges from outgoing vice chancellor Professor DP Singh at VC Lodge on the university campus in Varanasi on August 22, 2011.

Photo: PPP Cell-BHU


Prof. Lalji Singh takes over charge as new VC of BHU from former VC, Prof. D. P. Singh


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IIT News Update
IIT CAT 2013: Hard lessons for private coaching centres
@ Oct 23, 2011
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Sunday, Oct 23, 2011

Swati Garg & M Saraswathy / Kolkata/ Mumbai September 29, 2011, 0:04 IST

The proposed common admission test format for the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) and National Institutes of Technology (NITs), could prove to be a damper for the Rs 10,000-crore coaching industry.

Come 2013, the existing marking system will be replaced with one where the focus will be on the performance at the board exams. Candidates will be chosen, based on their ranks in the board exams and the number of students who appear for the exam under the concerned board. “For example, a student from CBSE would get more points for being ranked fourth, than a student from the West Bengal Board,” said Gautam Barua, director, IIT Guwahati.

At present, IIT aspirants appear for the IIT Joint Entrance Exam (IIT JEE), which takes into account a student’s capabilities in physics, chemistry and mathematics (PCM). Board exams or class-XII results do not play a role in the final marking system. A student has to, however, score a minimum 60 per cent to qualify for the examination. Over 1.5 million students appear for the exams every year.

He said the idea behind changing the exam format “was to strike at the root of the coaching system that has gripped the country”. “We want these coaching classes to be transformed into schools,” he said, adding that the new format will encourage students to earn merit at the Plus-2 level. “The best way to do it, would be by encouraging students to perform better at the board exams.”

Coaching centres will, therefore, have to change their approach, said experts. For instance, Gautam Puri, managing director of Career Launcher, one of India’s better-known coaching institutions, said students will focus more on the overall package of subjects rather than just the PCM combination. “The way students prepare for the exams will change. Instead of focusing on the PCM, they will study everything. It will directly impact residential coaching institutions, which offer the code for cracking the earlier PCM-based exam. This kind of a coaching system will not be needed for just an aptitude test.”

At present, there are three types of examinations to apply for an engineering course — the IIT JEE for IITs, the All India Joint Entrance Exam (AIJEE) for other government engineering colleges besides the IITs, and the state board engineering exams for state engineering colleges.

The residential coaching programmes that Puri refered to are estimated to be a Rs 400-500 crore industry in Kota, a small town in Rajasthan, with a burgeoning student population. Over 70,000 students arrive in Kota to prepare for the entrance exams. While coaching institutions like the Forum for IIT-JEE chose to downplay saying it is too early to pass a judgment on the potential impact of the change, others like Pramod Maheshwari, MD and CEO of Kota-based Career Point, echoed Puri’s views.

“Now that Class XII board exam marks will also be taken into consideration, there will be a lot of competition to secure good marks in these exams. In this case, expert coaching will still be there. But, though the coaching modules would be modified as per the requirements, I believe there the business would be affected temporarily,” said Maheshwari.

Others, however, said the new exam format will merely mean a change in the coaching syllabi. “The analysis that students study only for the exam and not for their boards is incorrect. Over the past five years, the average IITian has a board exam percentage of over 80 per cent. Good students will continue to look for help. As long as that happens, it will be business as usual,” said P K Bansal, CEO, Bansal Institute. Kota-based Bansal Institute gets over 12,000 students every year an average and the annual fees per student is Rs 70,000.

The idea behind the change in the format, which was taken at the meeting of the IIT Council last week, was to curb the growing coaching culture. Terming the coaching system as a “racket”, Sanjay Govind Dhande, director, IIT Kanpur, had observed that the entrance examination system had to change.


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CM announces 440 acres land for IIT-Gandhinagar
@ Oct 23, 2011
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TNN Oct 16, 2011, 03.22AM IST

GANDHINAGAR: Chief minister Narendra Modi formally announced handing over 440 acres of land in Gandhinagar district, on the banks of Sabarmati, to the Indian Institute of Technology, Gandhinagar (IIT-Gn).

"While a notification for handing over the land to IIT-Gn was issued a year ago, it could not materialize, as 208 acres of land belonged to the Forage Research Institute, Union ministry of agriculture. The institute wanted an alternative site. The cabinet cleared an equal size of land in Sabarkantha district last Wednesday, enabling the institute to let go the land," a senior state government official told TOI.

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Gujarat Chief Minister, Shri Narendra Modi speaking during Technology Summit at IIT-Gandhinagar

(Photo courtesy: http://www.narendramodi.in/news/news_detail/1701)

"The IIT-Gn, on its part, had also refused to take possession of rest of the land, which belonged to the state government's roads and buildings department, as it insisted it should get the entire piece of land to kick-start its project," the official said. Currently, the IIT-Gn is operating from the Vishwakarma Engineering College campus, Chandkheda, Ahmedabad.

Making the announcement at the technology summit of IIT-Gn on Friday, Modi said, "The IIT-Gn has been handed over 440 acres of land on 99 years lease at the token rate of Re 1." To be set up on land belonging to Palaj and Basan villages, costing Rs 1,522.48 crore initially, it was decided to hand over the land to the IIT-Gn on a 30-year lease.

The initial agreement to hand over 440 acres of land to IIT-G was reached on September 7, 2010 between officials of the state R&B department, the Forage Research Institute, the state education department, IIT-G and the Gandhinagar district collectorate.

"10 years ago just four per cent of the state's population used to get tapped water. However currently, 74% of the state's population avails tapped water. All 18,000 villages have been given three-phase 24 hours power. As a result, migration from rural areas to urban areas is down by 33%," Modi said.

Under the agreement, the IIT-G was obliged to free 10 acres of land for constructing road, even as creating proper drainage facilities to ensure that rainwater reaches Sabarmati river via the current ravines, as today, without any obstruction.


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Construction of new IIT campuses fails to take-off
@ Oct 23, 2011
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Chetan Chauhan, Hindustan Times

New Delhi, October 18, 2011

The cost of building eight new Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT) would be much higher than anticipated by the government with the work for developing permanent campuses not taking-off. The HRD ministry has decided to prepare new detailed project reports of each of the eight IITs after finding that it will not be possible to build the premier technology institutes at the cost approved by the Union Cabinet.

The government had estimated that the new campus of each IIT will cost Rs 800 crore in 2008, when the Cabinet approved the project. It was also estimated that most of the campuses will be build by 2012.

A review by the HRD ministry has shown that the work on building the new campuses has not started because of delay in acquisition of land and awarding of work by individual IITs. Even boundary walls of new IITs in Rajasthan and Himachal have not been built and some others like IIT Hyderabad has started preliminary work.

The new IITs are running from temporary campuses allocated by state governments till the new campuses were built.

“The IITs had been extremely slow in starting the work and meeting the 2012 deadline was impossible,” a senior government official said. India’s economy rival China between 2008 and 2011 had built at least 10 technology institutes in the last few years to produce high quality manpower.

Despite a policy push by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in 2008 the slow pace of work has hampered construction of the new IIT campuses. The new IITs at the recent IIT council meeting pointed out that building the new campuses at the envisaged cost of Rs 800 (crores) would not possible because the cost of raw material has increased by 30 to 50 %.

The IITs asked the ministry to increase the cost to which the ministry has agreed. The ministry will now prepare a new detailed project report for each of the new IIT and seek the Cabinet’s approval to meet the additional costs.

 The new IITs are already facing a faculty crunch with none of them been able to get the faculty strength required to run the institutes. IIT Hyderabad is still better off with faculty strength of 70-80 % while others are working on half of the faculty required.


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IITs declare minimum scoring percentages for entrance tests
@ Oct 23, 2011
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Published on Thu, Oct 20, 2011 at 12:29 | Source : PTI

Updated at Fri, Oct 21, 2011 at 15:46  

New Delhi, Oct 19 (PTI) IIT aspirants will have to score a minimum required percentage in each subject in their entrance tests which will help them beat tension, the Joint Admission Board of the premier institutes said.

From 2012 candidates must score "at least 10 per cent in each subject and 35 per cent in aggregate in order to be in the common rank list", said Prof G B Reddy of IIT-Delhi.

Till last year, the averages were decided on performance from paper to paper and through cut-offs based on a complex process.

"We felt that the system created a lot of tension in the minds of students about the percentage they need to score.

Therefore, to put an end to this, we have declared the minimum percentage they need to score," he said.

This will help them get relieve of the tension and maximise their scores to secure a good rank in the entrance," he added.

Admission to undergraduate courses in the 15 IITs is done through a Common entrance test known as Joint Entrance Examination (for short IIT-JEE) conducted by the board.

The decision to fix the minimum percentage was taken at the joint admission board meeting here yesterday. The board is the nodal agency for conducting the exams across the country.

The board decided to provide relaxation the percentages in case of OBC candidates and SC and ST students.

"Candidates of OBC category must score at least 9 per cent in each subject and 31.5 per cent in aggregate to be in the OBC rank list," said a statement issued by IIT-Delhi.

Likewise, candidates of SC and ST categories must score at least 5 per cent in each subject and 17.5 per cent in aggregate to be in their respective rank lists.

"The new policy measure announced is a good decision for selecting the right kind of candidates," said director of FIIT-JEE C V Kalyan Kumar, adding it would mostly help candidates who are serious about cracking the IIT test and holding a good rank.


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IIT JEE ready
@ Oct 23, 2011
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Posted On: Saturday, October 01, 2011

Cracking the IIT JEE is a tough task, one that takes careful planning and hard work. CV Kalyan provides tips for being successful at the JEE

How should a student prepare for IIT entrance examination?

Time management is of essence while studying for the IIT entrance examination.  JEE syllabus of Class XI and XII contributes about 45% and 55% of IIT-JEE question papers respectively. Avoid selective study since the number of questions in the two objective-type papers is large with intermingling of concepts, and all topics are likely to be covered.

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 On the three subjects physics, chemistry and mathematics, detail-out the chapter-wise topic-wise time schedule. Allocation of topic-wise time should be based on trend of proportional weighting of marks and a student’s competence level with regard to clarity and conceptual understanding. Make summary notes or points to remember all concepts topic or chapter-wise and flag the questions with an intermingling of concepts requiring analytical skills. This will help in quick revision couple of days prior to or even on the eve of examination.

The right approach is to stick to one source and not to refer to a multitude of books/study material. For example, it is sufficient to go through study packages, IIT-JEE archives, review packages, work-books, grand masters package, AITS/AIITS series etc. Students, throughout the preparation period, should remain focused with a positive attitude.

Periodically, progress should be monitored by mock quizzes after each chapter and mock test papers at regular intervals in a simulated IITJEE style examination environment. Students should bridge the gap based on the feedback of performance in mock-tests which will help improve and build examination temperament.

For an aspiring student who is still in school, which grade or class should a student start preparing from?

An aspiring student in school should start preparing from Class IX itself. IIT-JEE foundation can be rightly built at this stage.

What should be the focus areas/subjects in the preparation?

IQ should be progressively enhanced. Physics, chemistry and mathematics are the subjects a student should work on. Application of learning, comprehension and analytical abilities should be developed. Strategy of solving questions from the fundamentals will induce in the student parallel thinking processes that are necessary to increase and master analytical skills with conceptual understanding.

A week or so before the examination, what is your advice to students?

Go through the summary notes/points to remember all concepts, topic/chapter-wise made during regular preparation. Similarly, questions with an intermingling of concepts flagged in summary notes should be revised. Nothing new should be attempted in the week. Minimum 6 hours sound sleep and healthy food intake are necessary to keep physical, mental fitness and healthy biological cycle. It is quality of time spent rather than quantity, which is important.

Any tips during examination, in terms of particular questions types or attempting contain sections before others etc.

It is advisable to reach examination hall at least 15 minutes early. Few deep breaths on the seat will ward-off nervousness. Instructions given in the questions papers should be read and followed very carefully. For present pattern of two papers three hours each (one hour per subject physics/chemistry/mathematics) students should not spend more than 45 minutes on any of the subjects in the first attempt. Student should prioritise after a concentrated quick reading of paper and start answering with the questions, he knows best and move progressively to ones in ascending order of difficulty.

All questions with no negative marking must be attempted. The 45 minute cycle each should be observed for the three subjects starting with subject where confidence level is high and so on. Thereafter, the student should come back to the three sections (subjects) for attempting questions left over, conceptually with well reasoned logic and for over-all revision during the last 45 minutes. Even if some questions/segments appear to be tough, one should keep his/her cool since it is the relative performance which will count and hence students should put-in his/her best. One should leave black-box type questions, thereby avoiding negative marks.

In view of the unemployability issue of engineering graduates, and NR Narayana Murthy’s comment on the quality of IIT graduates, how do you think can this problem be addressed?

The need of the hour is to standardise the education system so that what is taught at schools is at par with what is asked in the IIT Entrance tests. Students today go to coaching centres to bridge this gap and help themselves prepare for the tests. The poor quality of education in India in the primary, secondary, and higher levels and poor quality of faculties in universities and colleges in the country cannot help produce good students.

(The writer is director, FIITJEE, a IIT JEE coaching institute)


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Food poisoning: IIT-B blacklists contractor
@ Oct 23, 2011
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Express News Service

Posted: Tue Oct 04 2011, 03:35 hrs Mumbai:

Almost a week after 500 Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay students took ill due to food poisoning, the institute has blacklisted the contractor who was running the kitchen at the three affected hostels.

According to the statement released on Monday evening, an independent committee has been constituted by the director of the institute to look into the matter. Also, a fresh tender for running the kitchen of the three hostels, where the cases of food poisoning were reported, has been floated.

According to the statement, “IIT-B authorities promptly took up investigation of food consumed by the students, preparation methods in the kitchen and water supply in the mess. The report suggested the food consumed by the students on September 25 was the reason for the food poisoning and the possibility of water being the reason was negated. We immediately blacklisted the previous mess contractors M/s Aditya Caterers.”

On September 26 and 27, around 500 students of IIT-B were reported ill due to food poisoning. These students were rushed to the institute’s hospital. However, the statement released by the IIT-B on Monday clarified that though 500 students were reported ill, only 13 had to be hospitalised.

It further said, “The students who were not hospitalised responded satisfactorily to dehydration and antibiotic medicines.”


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AP CM lays foundation stone for new campus of IIT-Hyderabad
@ Oct 23, 2011
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Sangareddy (AP), Oct 6 (PTI) Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy today laid the foundation of a new IIT Campus at Kandi near here.

The campus estimated to cost about Rs 400 crore will be spread over an area of about 600 acres and the first phase is expected to be ready by 2013.

IIT-Hyderabad, started in 2008, presently conducts its operations from a temporary campus located at Ordinance Factory Campus at Yeddumailaram village.

Rejecting the demand to rename IIT-Hyderabad as IIT-Medak since the new campus would be located in Medak district on the outskirts of Hyderabad, the chief minister said that Hyderabad has become a brand name in education and it was after many deliberations that the government decided to locate the IIT campus on the outskirts of Hyderabad.


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National Education News
World's cheapest tablet launched at Rs 2250
@ Oct 28, 2011
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Akshaya Mukul, TNN Oct 6, 2011, 12.17AM IST

NEW DELHI: The HRD ministry distributed its low-cost tablet to 500 college students from all over the country on Wednesday. The device that took six years to develop and was once subject to widespread ridicule comes dirt-cheap at Rs 2,250.

The government would pick up 50% of the cost and a student will be able to buy it for Rs 1,125.

Indian government hopes the device could herald a paradigm shift in making technology accessible to marginal sections of society and bridge the digital divide. It is likely to undergo intense scrutiny by the highly-competitive tablet market.

Christened Aakash or the Low-Cost Access Device, the tablet developed by IIT, Rajasthan and other leading institutions, packs all common features found in Android tablets. It comes as a counter to MIT academic Nicholas Negroponte`s One-Laptop-Per-Child (OLPC) project that the Indian government was considering at one point.

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(The HRD ministry distributed its low-cost tablet to 500 college students from all over the country on Wednesday.)

Sporting a 7-inch touchscreen, Aakash runs on Android 2.2 operating software. According to specifications, it has a high-definition video co-processor for good multimedia experience.

The device comes with Wi-Fi connectivity and has support for optional 3G modems. Two full-size USB ports are integrated into the unit. Aakash can be used as an ebook reader. A student will be able to access online streaming of course material and web-based research.

A B. Tech student of IIT, Delhi developed the first cut of the design. His father, Prem Kalra, later became director of IIT, Rajasthan and took the project to the logical conclusion.

N K Sinha, additional secretary, HRD ministry and the man behind the low-cost tablet, said considering the huge demand, the price would come down further. Sinha, the first person who conceived that a low-cost tablet could be produced in India, was once ridiculed for taking the nation for a ride.

On Wednesday HRD minister Kapil Sibal complimented him: "You took the nation on a pleasant ride." The man Sibal and others completely forgot was late Sudeep Banerjee, secretary, education who resisted imposition of OLPC and gave Sinha a free hand.

Early this year, the project nearly got derailed as the company that was asked to produce the low-cost tablet was taken over by an IT major. Later, that deal fell through and the project was started all over again.

Produced by Datawind, 100,000 tablets would be given out to students over the next year. Currently, the company is producing 700 tablets daily at its Hyderabad facility. Datawind has set up a manufacturing facility only for Aakash.

The company has been given the order for 100,000 tablets that would be delivered by November-end. The next order of 10 lakh tablets would go through a tendering process. HRD ministry officials said, "Considering the widespread interest in the product, many companies might independently produce these tablets with competing prices. We do not have a closed mind in terms of innovation of technology and price. All are invited."

One jarring point about Aakash remains. The tablet won`t be available to school students immediately. The cost is being borne by the National Mission on Education through Information & Communication Technology. This deals exclusively with higher education, reason Aakash cannot be given to school students. This goes against the original idea of providing laptops to school children and coming up with a project to counter OLPC. The HRD ministry is likely to move another cabinet note for making it accessible to school students.


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Planning Commission backs shortened medical degree for rural areas
@ Oct 28, 2011
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Kounteya Sinha, TNN Sep 26, 2011, 02.57am IST

NEW DELHI: The controversial three-and-a-half year long medical degree Bachelor of Rural Medicine and Surgery (BRMS) -- has now got the backing of Planning Commission's all powerful high level expert group on universal health coverage.

The panel has in its report (finalized on Sunday and available with TOI) "endorsed" the all new BRMS cadre and said that as a career progression incentive, they should be promoted to the level of public health officers after 10 years of service.

According to the panel, by 2022, India should actually have BRMS colleges in all districts with populations of over 5 lakh.

The course should focus on "high quality of competence in preventive, promotive and rehabilitative services required for rural populations with focus on primary health care."


(Plan panel has "endorsed" the new BRMS cadre and said that as a career progression incentive, they should be promoted to level of public health officers after 10yrs of service.)

It also recommended that it should be mandated through legislation that a graduate of the BRMS programme is licensed to serve only in specific notified areas in the government health system.

The panel however was clear that the BRMS was not a mini-MBBS but rather a unique training programme aimed at the basic health care needs of its target population.

According to the Union health ministry, vulnerable populations in rural, tribal and hilly areas are extremely under-served. In 2006, only 26% of doctors in India resided in rural areas, serving 72% of India's population. Another study found that the urban density of doctors is nearly four times that in rural areas, and that of nurses is three times higher than rural areas.

As of March 2010, undue delays in recruitments resulted in high vacancies even in available posts at health centres over 34% for male health workers are not in position, while 38% of radiographer posts, 16% of laboratory technician posts, 31% of specialist posts, 20% of pharmacist posts, 17% of ANM posts and 10% of doctor posts are vacant.

Overall, human resources in health shortfalls range from 63% for specialists to 10% for allopathic doctors. The past few decades have also seen the disappearance of certain cadres village health guides and traditional birth attendants, first instituted in 1986. "They have now decreased to a point of non-existence," the report said.

The panel said, "The BRMS degree should be linked to State Health Sciences Universities. BRMS students should be taught in local settings where they live and work and the faculty should be drawn both from existing teaching institutions and retired teachers. The faculty should include non-physician specialists from the fields of public health and social sciences."

According to the panel, it is expected that full coverage of BRMSs at the sub-centre will be achieved by 2030. In order to support the production of this cadre, the panel recommended the production of 172 BRMS colleges in phase A, 163 BRMS colleges in Phase B and 213 BRMS colleges in Phase C.

"This would enable positioning of rural health practitioners at 1.14 lakh SHCs by the year 2022 and facilitate outreach to underserved rural populations. Similarly, nurse practitioners will be positioned to serve vulnerable urban population," the panel said.


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