The Legislative Assembly on Wednesday adopted the Universities of Agricultural Sciences (Amendment) Bill 2013 for reducing the number of members in the Board of Management to 13 from the present 22.

Tabling the Bill, Minister of State for Agriculture Krishna Byre Gowda said the Bill was in tune with the model Act of the Union government related to the Universities of Agricultural Sciences.

Underscoring the importance of the Bill, he said the Indian Council of Agricultural Research had made it clear to the State that it would not only stop giving accreditation, but also not include agricultural universities in the Agricultural Education Project if their governments fail to change their legislation concerned to suit the model Act brought about by the Centre. In fact, the ICAR had already written three letters to the State asking it to modify its legislation, he said.

The Bill makes it clear that the Board of management, headed by the vice-chancellor, will comprise 13 members, including three progressive farmers, an eminent educationist or expert in agriculture sector, an agro industrialist or woman social worker, besides the principal secretaries or secretaries of the departments of Agriculture, Finance, Horticulture or their nominees.

While an MLA will be nominated by the Speaker to each of the Universities of Agricultural Sciences-Bangalore, Dharwad and Raichur, an MLC will be nominated by the Chairman of the Council to the University of Agricultural and Horticultural Sciences located at Shimoga.

It will also comprise a representative from the ICAR besides a dean of the university to be nominated by the vice-chancellor by rotation for a term of two years.

The Assembly also adopted the Karnataka Panchayat Raj (Second Amendment) Bill 2013 which seeks to provide reasonable opportunity to the members of the panchayat raj institutions to give explanation before the competent authorities when they fail to declare the assets of their family. At present, there is no provision for giving an explanation and the membership of such failing members automatically ceases if they fail to file assets’ declaration, Law Minister T.B. Jayachandra said.

The Bill seeks to reduce the number of members in the Board of Management to 13 from the present 22