smriti irani
Six central universities will have full-fledged departments of yoga from the academic session 2016-17. Picture: Smriti Irani (extreme left), Union Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju and BJP MP Anurag Thakur at Parliament in New Delhi, on March 15, 2016.IANS

Six central universities will have full-fledged departments of yoga from academic session 2016-17, Human Resource Development (HRD) Minister Smriti Irani said at National Seminar on Yoga held on Saturday.

The government would establish yoga departments in all central universities, but one each from North, South, East, West, Central and North East India have been chosen for the first phase. By the end of this year, the department would be opened in at least 14 more universities.

Hemwati Nandan Bahugana Garhwal University in Uttrakhand (North), Viswa Bharti in West Bengal (East), Central University of Rajasthan (West), Central University of Kerala (South), Indira Gandhi National Tribal University in Amarkantak, Madya Pradesh, (Central) and Manipur University (North East) are the universities where yoga departments would be opened this academic session.

Addressing the seminar on Saturday, Irani also said that the ministry has asked the University Grants Commission (UGC) to consider starting National Eligibility Test (NET) in yogic science.

The decision was based on recommendations of Prof HR Nagendra-led 12-member Committee on Yoga Education in Universities (CYEU) that suggested certificate, bachelors, masters and PhD courses in yogic science. 

The panel, established by the HRD ministry in January, had submitted its report in March, suggesting that the UGC allot Rs. 10 crore to "universities and colleges for creating Departments of Yogic Art and Science and to run them for a few years," according to an earlier Press Trust of India report. It also suggested an outline for the syllabus for all the courses.

A sub-panel under the CYEU would reportedly focus on content of the yoga courses that will be offered in the universities. The CYEU had also suggested that universities can invite yoga experts from Ramdev's Patanjali Yogpeeth as guest lecturers.

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