Established in 1970, the Mahatma Gandhi Department of rural Studies inculcates diagnostic abilities in the students so as to make them competent to identify the root causes of the problems faced by rural people. It is one of its own kind of interdisciplinary department having strong roots in learning, research and extension.
Over several decades the importance of rural studies as a subject in higher education is acknowledged. There is growing need of committed and trained youth to work in various fields such as agriculture, natural resource management, entrepreneurship, NGO, marketing, co-operatives etc. in rural areas. Such trained youths requires to have in depth knowledge of socio-economic condition of the rural areas along with a strong diagnostic ability to identify the factors inhibiting development. Revival of Panchayati Raj institutions, changing socio-economic condition after adopting new economic policies and overall changes in the aspirations of rural population has further enhanced the need for trained and committed youth to work in rural areas.
An interdisciplinary approach in training the youth has been adopted at the Mahatma Gandhi Department of Rural Studies wherein students acquire diagnostic ability through field visit and experience based programmes. The Department offers a two year full time Post-Graduate Programme leading to Masters of Rural Studies (MRS). The curriculum of the Course is mainly classified in Social science based papers and Agriculture science related papers. From the academic year 2013-14 the department is offering specialization in Rural Development and Natural Resource Management at MRS. Along with MRS the Department also offers M.Phil. and Ph.D. programme by research. Apart from the trained and experienced regular faculty, the Department invites rural development experts, executives of the corporate and Government officials to deliver talks and share their experience and practical knowledge. For research and extension activities department collaborates with Government and non-Government organizations of State and the Union.
University Grants Commission had provided special assistance to establish Gandhian Studies Centre at the Department. The Centre had organized seminars, talks and symposia on work of Gandhi. A good resource material on Gandhian and Rural Studies is available at the Department. The department is engaged in research concerning rural studies. Till the date it has completed more than 50 projects of major and minor scale extending the period of 3 months to 5 years and involving the project consisting of value ranging from Rs.5,000 to Rs. 40,00,000. These Projects are sponsored and collaborated by ICSSR, UGC, Department of Rural Development, National Institutions like NIRD,IRMA,IGDRI, Planning Commission, State Rural Development Commission and Tribal Development Commission etc. and professional organizations like Indian Institute of Public Opinion (IIPO) and Center for Media studies (CMS), Delhi. It had also undertaken collaborative projects with National and International Organizations such as Indira Gandhi Development Research (IGDRI), Bombay, and East- West Center, USA and Department of Forest under OFCD Aided IFDP programme. Recently, the Department of Rural Studies was given some of the prestigious assignments by Union Ministry of Rural Development such as District level Monitoring of Rural Development programmes and Evaluation of watershed projects in Gujarat. NABARD had also assigned the IInd evaluation of prestigious projects of Comprehensive Tribal development funded by International agency KFW Germany. It had projects from the DEEP, CSR and NGO for baseline survey and collaborative study with Centre for Rural Studies, Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration, Massoorie. The department had carried out social audit of CSR activities of Gujarat Industrial Power corporation Limited during the year 2014.
In order to gain field experience, the department had carried out census survey of a village in Tapi district in collaboration with District Development Agency.
Recently the department had successfully carried out observations & field visits of all villages of a taluka in Surat district and three talukas of Navsari district regarding implementation & social audit of MGNREGA in Jan-Feb.2010. As an outcome of the extensive research carried out by faculties the department has published more than 400 papers in international, national and regional journals. It has also published 22 books covering different aspects of rural studies.
Faculty members have brought the honor to this department by working as experts in working group of Planning Commission of India as Member of Planning Commission, National Commission on Rural Labour, CAPART, Ministry of Rural Development, State Department of Rural Development, DRDA, Department of Forest and Environment and Gujarat Energy Development Agency (GEDA) State Commission on Agriculture; State Review Mission of Total Sanitation campaign programme and Standing Committee of UGC and even worked as Executive Vice-Chancellor for the short tenure. We had also SBI chair, Professorship for tenure of 5 years. The department has organised a number of National and Regional level seminars with the assistance of U.G.C, Ministry of Rural Development and Gandhian Study Centre sponsored by UGC. The department had invited Indian Society of Co -operative studies to hold its 18th National convention in November, 1999. It also organized a two days workshop on "Environmental status, issues and techno-economic alternatives for Eco-Friendly Development in South Gujarat" in March, 2000 with the assistance of Ministry of Environment. It had organized an International session on Rural Health Scenario in the International Conference of Gynecological Society of India held in Feb.2002. It organized a workshop on the Performance and Management of Rural Development Programmes in Gujarat in 2003-04 on the basis of its involvement in monitoring for rural development. Also it had organised five days workshop on "Knowledge Building in Rural Studies" for the Teachers of Rural Studies in March-2007. Similarly workshops were organised in the department and at B.R.S. college at Bilpudi for "Sampurna Gram Vikas Yojana" in five Tribal Villages adopted under Action Research Project with U.G.C. grants. The department organised a two days Workshop on Tribals, Development and Reforms, sponsored by Department of Tribal Development. It has started Action Research Project of Sampurn Gram Vikas Yojana in 5 adopted tribal villages of Valsad Takuka through UGC Field grants. Department was recognized by UGC for all India Orientation Programme in Rural development'.
The students of our department get jobs in diverse fields such as (a) Government Rural Development Agencies as consultants (b) Officers as Agricultural Rural Development; Officers in RRBS .and Public Sector Banks. (C) Corporate sector seeking Rural Markets (d) Service sector like Information, Technology insurance and financial services. (e) Agro- based industries. (f) Khadi and Village Industrial Boards (g) Private and government extension agencies (h) Cooperatives in credit, dairy and sugar and Agro-Products sectors, Agricultural Produce Market Committees (i) NGOs / Civil societies (j) Rural development related funding agencies like CAPART, NABARD (k) Tribal development related agencies (l) Social forestry and forest departments, water management related organisations like WASMO and other rural agencies such as Ecology Commission, State Rural Technology Institute, Gujarat Energy Development Agency and District Industrial Centres etc. and off-course students get also placement in Gandhian Rural Educational Organisations including BRS colleges, B.Ed. Colleges and Research Institutes primarily engaged in Rural / Tribal issues.In the year 2010 a reputed organization WASMO had recruited department's 16 students for the post of Social Mobiliser.
The Head of the Department : Dr. Vipul J. Somani
Direct : 0261-2201139, 0261-2201140
Phone: 0261-2227141-2227146, EXT: 1139, 1140
Mail : email@example.com