To promote yoga, ayurveda, astrology and vaastu, a two-year diploma course is being introduced this academic year at the Rashtriya Sanskrit Sansthan, a deemed university. The university, which offers certificate courses, decided on introducing the diploma following a high demand for such subjects by students looking for jobs in the sector. The human resource development (HRD) ministry is boosting Sanskrit universities to encourage students in taking up such courses. It in fact increased the funding for the Rashtriya Sanskrit Sansthan from Rs 62.75 crore to Rs 109 crore under the planned head last year. Vice-chancellor of the Delhi-based university, Parameshwara Narayana Shastry said enrolled students will be able to study both the diploma course along with their bachelors or masters. “We will offer dual degree to ensure students are able to study it along with their degree courses. The matter will be placed in our next meeting for clearance”. Citing that job opportunities have increased manifold in such fields, Shastry said, “We are planning to increase more courses through the distance learning mode in various subjects including ayurveda, yoga.” In January, the HRD ministry set up a committee on yoga education in universities. The committee is headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s yoga guru, professor HR Nagendra, chancellor of Swami Vivekananda Yoga Anusandhana, Samsthana, Bengaluru. Prof Nagendra is tasked with identifying yoga courses that can be offered and structuring the syllabi for conducting a National Eligibility Test (NET) in Yogic Art and Science. Recently, the ministry also allowed such universities to start unlimited centres across the country. This benefits the Rashtriya Sanskrit Sansthan institute that already has 10 campuses across the country. The university will now be allowed to expand much further. Enrollment at the Sanskrti university has increased in the past few years, from its earlier number of 17,203 students to 18,216 in 2014. The demand for distance education also went up from 664 students to 905 in 2014.