Wednesday, January 31, 2007
Bhubaneswar: Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh demanding setting up of an Indian Institute of Technology in Orissa.
Taking exception to the Centre's move to set up greenfield IITs in Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan and Bihar, the Chief Minister said in his letter on Wednesday that establishment of an IIT in Orissa was necessary to support the rapid industrial growth taking place in the State.
Stating that the State was attracting huge investments in various sectors including the mega steel plant projects of Arcelor Mittal and Posco, Patnaik said there was every reason to set up an IIT to cater to the requirement of the upcoming industries by producing highly qualified technical personnel.
Terming the Centre's move to drop Orissa from the list of States selected for setting up of IITs as `shocking', Patnaik urged the Prime Minister to intervene in the matter and sanction such an institute for the State.
Patnaik also drew Prime Minister's attention to the announcement made by the Centre in August last year about establishment of three IITs during the 11th Five Year Plan period in the country. Orissa had figured in the list of the States, he added.
As regards the upgradation of the extension centre of IIT, Kharagpur in the State to a full-fledged campus, Patnaik also urged the Prime Minister to look into the matter for implementation of the project. The State has already sent a proposal in this regard to the Union Ministry of Human Resource Development and assured allotment of 300 acres of land for the project, Patnaik said.
New Delhi, Jan. 31: Pressure is building on the Centre to set up educational institutions of excellence in backward states.
As the government gears up to build a string of science, technology and management institutes, political parties and pressure groups fear these might go to certain “favoured” regions. They cite how states like Orissa and Madhya Pradesh have been denied their share.
The latest provocation is the Union human resource development ministry’s decision to set up Indian Institutes of Technology in Bihar and Rajasthan and Indian Institutes of Science for Education and Research (IISERs) in Pune and Calcutta.
The decision has angered residents of states that feel left out, particularly Orissa. Letters and petitions to the ministry are pouring in from individuals and groups in Orissa alleging discrimination.
Orissa doesn’t have a single centre of excellence while the northern cities of Delhi, Kanpur and Roorkee have an IIT each.
The Manmohan Singh government has proposed three new IITs, 20 Indian Institutes of Information Technology, five Indian Institutes of Management, three IISERs and four Schools of Planning and Architecture in the 11th Five-Year-Plan.
But where will these be located if the Planning Commission clears them? In the past, decisions have been influenced by political factors, such as which parties have clout at the Centre and where the cabinet ministers come from.
The HRD ministry’s allocations to states depend on the presence and size of central educational institutions. Delhi receives the largest share, followed by Bengal and Karnataka. On the lowest rungs are Bihar, Rajasthan and Orissa.
Those advocating more and better educational institutions in Orissa cite past promises that were not kept. For instance, in 2003, the Vajpayee government had announced a National Institute of Science (NIS) in the state. The Orissa government allocated 75 acres of prime land, but nothing has moved since then.
The Prime Minister recently announced two IISERs in Calcutta and Pune. The objectives of an NIS and an IISER are the same; so the new IISERs could seal the fate of the proposed NIS in Orissa.
Higher education experts point to a link between a dearth of “employable” technical manpower and an absence of quality institutions in large parts of the country.
The south teems with private professional institutes but many of them are substandard. Experts say the government, either on its own or through private-public partnership, should create more high-quality institutes.
Industry claims that no more than 40 per cent of the nearly 300,000 engineering graduates are employable. The HRD ministry says that one way of bridging the gap is to upgrade eligible institutes to “IIT status”.
Seven colleges — including Jadavpur University’s engineering and technology department, Bengal Engineering and Science University and Aligarh Muslim University’s Zakir Hussain College of Engineering and Technology — have been identified for the upgrade.
But some academics argue such upgrade would “dilute” the IIT brand. They suggest that these institutes be turned into National Institutes of Technology or Hindustan Institutes of Technology.
Thursday February 1 2007 00:00 IST
BHUBANESWAR: Taking strong exception to the reported move of the Centre to shift the establishment of an Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) from Orissa to Andhra Pradesh, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Wednesday shot off a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh demanding that a greenfield IIT should be sanctioned for the State.The Centre had announced establishment of three greenfield IITs in the country during the Eleventh Five Year Plan. Orissa was included in this proposal, which was also announced by Union Minister of State for Human Resources Development MM Fatmi on August 28 last year at Patna.Describing the move by the Centre to establish the IITs in Andhra Pradesh, Bihar and Rajasthan as ‘shocking’, the Chief Minister has sought the intervention of the Prime Minister in setting up such an institute in Orissa.Establishment of an IIT would go a long way in supporting the rapid industrial growth in the State by producing highly qualified technical and managerial personnel as well as the much needed R&D support, he said.Drawing the Prime Minister’s attention to the proposal of the IIT, Kharagpur for the upgradation of their extension centre in Orissa to a full-fledged IIT campus, Naveen said that the State Government has also formally recommended the proposal to the Ministry of HRD and conveyed willingness to provide 300 acres of land free of cost for the prestigious project. He requested the Prime Minister to sanction the extension campus also.Stating that the vibrant growth in the industrial and technical education sectors provides enormous potential for industry and institutional linkages, Naveen said that establishment of an IIT in Orissa will greatly facilitate in intensifying this process.Orissa is playing host to the biggest ever FDI projects in the country such as Posco and Arcelor-Mittal steel projects, he said and added that presence of such strong industrial players will definitely provide required synergy for an IIT level institution to realise its full potential.
Sunday, January 28, 2007
Pioneer News Service Bhubaneswar
... as HRD requests Planning Commission to include three new IIT's in 11 Five-Year Plan
It seems that some nasty politics is overshadowing the decision of setting up of an Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) in Orissa. Union Minister for Human Resources Development Arjun Singh, a diehard Congress leader, seems determined not to oblige the BJD-led Government in the State to take the political mileage for setting up an IIT in the State.
The HRD Ministry has requested the Planning Commission to include three new IITs in the Eleventh-Plan period. The budget of each new IIT may be as high as Rs 4,000 crore, sources said. Union Minister of State for HRD MAA Fatmi, during the inaugural ceremony of a new experiment of the National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS) in Patna, has said, "The proposal for IITs for Orissa and a western State, besides an IIT for Bihar, will be included in 11th Five-Year Plan."
The mention of Bihar and Orissa in the context of IIT makes sense as both States are in the bottom three (the other being Rajasthan) of HRD Ministry spending with respect to fully centrally funded higher education institutions and neither of them has an HRD-funded IIT, IIM, Central University, IISER, etc. The mention of two IITs in Orissa probably referred to a new IIT and a proposal for a branch or extension of IIT Kharagpur in Bhubaneswar.
However, even though the 11th Plan proposal is not yet finalised, confidential inquiries reveal that the three new IITs will be in Bihar, Rajasthan and Andhra Pradesh. And accordingly, the HRD Ministry has sent letters to the concerned State Governments. Moreover, reports also mention that the plans for branch campuses have been stalled.
Despite being at the bottom of the HRD funding, Ministry always skips over Orissa. Earlier, a proposed National Institute of Sciences in Bhubaneswar was shifted to Kolkata, despite protests from people all over the State and its representatives in Parliament roaring over the HRD Ministry's antipathy. Ultimately, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had to come to the State's rescue as he granted it an NISER to be funded by the Department of Atomic Energy.
Now, the HRD Ministry has once again overlooked Orissa with respect to the IITs. This time, it seems Orissa is superseded by the Congress-ruled Andhra Pradesh, which, earlier in the year, was awarded not one but two upgrades to IIT cousins. Andhra University Engineering College and Osmania University Engineering College were earlier included in the list to be upgraded as IIESTs (Indian Institute of Engineering Science and Technology). Thus, Andhra gets a new IIT and two IIT-like institutions funded by the HRD Ministry.
The people of Orissa in general and non-resident Oriyas in particular have now reasons to believe that the HRD Ministry under Arjun Singh is nourishing personal grudge against the NDA-ruled State and trying to benefit the States run by the UPA partners.
Sunday, January 21, 2007
Express News Service
Gandhinagar January 16: With a string of memoranda of understanding (MoUs) signed in the health care and medical education sector during the just-concluded two-day Vibrant Gujarat Global Investors’ Summit, the Government expects it to further improve the services in this sector and boost medical tourism in the State.
Among the eight MoUs signed involving proposed investment of over Rs 2,000 crore includes the one inked by Fortis Healthcare Limited, a prominent Delhi-based group of hospitals, which has proposed to set up a healthcare hub near Ahmedabad comprising medical, dental and nursing colleges and a college of physical medicine and rehabilitation.
Under the proposed project with an estimated investment of Rs 750 crore, FHL also envisages to set up a 600-bed hospital attached to a medical college. The government claims that this medical project, when implemented, would create employment opportunity for over 3,000 people, mainly for medical and paramedical personnel.
Another major MoU signed at the Summit was by Apollo Tyres, Artemis Health Science (AHS) that proposed to set up a hospital-cum-medical college, as also a college of hospital administration at Harani village near Vadodara. The private company with its manufacturing unit at Waghodia also plans to set up a nursing college, paramedical college and ayurvedic college under its project proposal that involves a total investment of Rs 500 crore and expects to generate 4,000 jobs.
Canada-based Clinical Islet Transplant Group Inc inked an MoU for setting up a clinical islet training and transplantation for diabetes unit near Ahmedabad, with proposed investment of Rs 450 crore and generation of 150 jobs. Delhi-based Public Health Foundation of India proposed to establish an Indian Institute of Public Health near Ahmedabad, involving an investment of Rs 140 crore.
The summit saw yet another important MoU signed by Bombay Hospital Trust’s Bharat Taparia, who proposed to develop an undergraduate and post-graduate medical institute with multi-speciality hospital and a dental and nursing college in Ahmedabad. The trust has also plans to set up two institutions, one for para medical training and another for hospital management training at Ahmedabad. The project proposal is worth Rs 150 crore, and expects to create employment opportunity for 1,000 people.
A list of the MoUs includes a Rs 90 crore-Rs 100 crore proposal to create a public limited company for setting up a 150-bed multi-speciality hospital in Surat to be attached to a medical education centre later. The names of V C Kapoor and Dr S K Seth have been mentioned as the promoters of the proposed medical project which claims to generate 400 jobs.
The list also includes two proposals to develop government-run hospitals with public-private participation. The URMET Trust attached to the Vapi-based United Phosphorus Ltd inked an MoU proposing to run the Valsad Civil Hospital, but interestingly the investment in the hospital will be made by the State Government. Under the MoU, the Trust has plans to set up a medical college attached to this hospital at Valsad. The Mumbai-based Wockhardt Hospitals signed an MoU, under which it proposed to provide tertiary health care services at the government-run district hospital in Palanpur. The MoU signee has plans to provide tertiary care services at the district hospital of the standards of Wockhardt hospital.
State Health Commissioner Amarjit Singh told The Indian Express, “All the parties that have inked the MoUs in the health care and medical education sector are genuine, and the projects proposed by them will certainly raise the level of medical education and services in the State. The gestation period for implementation of these projects will be three to four years.”
Sunday January 21 2007 14:10 IST
T'PURAM: With science and technology principal secretary A E Muthunayagam submitting his resignation, the fate of the proposed IIT in the state hangs in the balance. Muthunayagam, as the governing board chairman of the Chennai IIT, had taken the initiative to start the IIT subcentre in the state.I don't know what will happen to the IIT. But if the Government of India wants the Chennai IIT to launch a subcentre in Kerala, I shall do whatever is necessary, said Muthunayagam after submitting his resignation.The IIT, which was to have come up at the jersey farm in Vithura, later became a victim of the group fight within the CPM.
Saturday, January 20, 2007
Will the HRD ministry and planning commission take steps to correct the existing regional imbalance in higher education opportunities?
(An edited version of this article was published in Indian Express on December 21, 2006. The same day news reprts came in that the locations of the 3 new IITs have been decided to be in Bihar, Rajasthan and Andhra Pradesh.)
Education in general and higher education in particular seems to be one of the focus items, and rightly so, for the 11th five year plan. The approach paper to the 11th plan says: “Only about 8% of the relevant age group (of Indians) go to university whereas in many developing countries, the figure is between 20 and 25%. There is a clear need to undertake major expansion. … New colleges and universities must be set up, to provide easier access to students in educationally backward districts.” Similar sentiment was recently expressed by the planning commission deputy Chairman Mr. Ahluwalia when he agreed with Shekhar Gupta that higher education is a problem and went on to say, “What has happened is we suddenly realized that if the economy is now growing at 8 per cent, and could grow at 9 per cent, the skills the economy needs will become a constraint.” The Finance minister in his recent convocation address at Symbiosis International University also echoed similar sentiments.
Against this backdrop there have been news reports that the HRD minister Mr. Arjun Singh has proposed to set up three new IITs, 20 Indian Institutes of Information Technology (IIITs), five Indian Institutes of Managements (IIMs), three Indian Institutes of Science Educational and Research (IISERs) and four Schools of Planning and Architecture (SPAs). There has been also news about one central university, and possibly more, outside of the northeast.
Even if some of these get through to the 11th plan the question that arises is where they will be located. Currently the distribution of the existing fully centrally funded institutes is skewed. In the past, decisions regarding the locations of institutions seem to be based more on – regardless of what spin is put on it, which state has a bigger influence over the central government, or where the important ministers come from, rather than making sure that these institutes and universities are distributed equitably across various states of the country.
Ironically, to get a comprehensive idea of the inequity one needs to look at pages 84-85 of the Moily committee report which lists the well-established institutions that will be subject to the 27% reservation for OBCs. Ignoring the medical and agricultural institutes there – as they are not funded by the HRD ministry, following is a state and Union territory wise list of central institutes and central universities from the Moily committee report:
Andhra Pradesh (NIT, Hyderabad U, Maulana Azad Urdu U), Arunachal Pradesh (none), Assam (NIT, IIT, Assam U, Tezpur U), Bihar (NIT), Chhattisgarh (NIT), Delhi (IIT, JNU, U Delhi, Jamia Millia Islamia, SPA), Goa (none), Gujarat (IIM, NIT), Haryana (NIT), Himachal Pradesh (NIT), Jammu and Kashmir (NIT), Jharkhand (NIT, NITTR, ISM), Karnataka (NIT, IISc, IIM), Kerala (NIT, IIM), Madhya Pradesh (IIM, NIT, NITTR, 2 IIITs), Maharashtra (NIT, NITIE, IIT, MG Hindi U), Manipur (Manipur U), Meghalaya (NEHU), Mizoram (Mizoram U), Nagaland (Nagaland U), Orissa (NIT), Punjab (NIT, SLIET), Rajasthan (NIT), Sikkim (none), Tamil Nadu (NIT, IIT, NITTR), Tripura (NIT), Uttaranchal (IIT), Uttar Pradesh (NIT, IIM, IIT, IIIT, BHU, Allahbad U, Ambedkar U), West Bengal (NIT, IIT, IIM, Visva Bharati, NITTR), Andaman and Nicobar Islands (none), Chandigarh (NITTR), Dadra and Nagar Haveli (none), Daman and Diu (none), Lakshadweep (none) and Puducherry (Pondicherry U).
The sizes of the above states and UTs vary and institutions in some of them are local to significant urban population in the neighboring states such as institutions in Delhi are local to a large populace of UP and Haryana and institutions in and around Chandigarh are local to a large populace of both Punjab and Haryana. The different institutes mentioned above have different budgets; the IITs and IISc having among the highest budgets while the NITTRs having much smaller budgets. The exact budget details are not easily available to make an accurate calculation of how much money the HRD ministry spends per-capita in various states with respect to the above institutions, but a rough calculation at http://equitableindia.org – based on the 2006-07 numbers in the Indian budget, averaging out among classes of institutions, shows Delhi (Rs 183.08), West Bengal (Rs 41.20) and Karnataka (Rs 33.4) at the top with Orissa (Rs 4.07), Rajasthan (Rs 2.59), and Bihar (Rs 1.87) at the bottom among the sizable states.
Not surprisingly as per the NSSO study of 2004-2005 Orissa is also at the bottom of most higher education parameters. For example, Table 3.14.1 shows that in the 15-19 age group 29% people in Orissa are attending school/college and in the 20-24 age group this number for Orissa is 6.1%. (Both numbers are lowest among all but the UTs of Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Lakshadweep.) For Bihar these numbers are 42.7% and 8.6% respectively; for Rajasthan they are 40.8% and 9.5%; for Delhi they are 70% and 19.3%; for West Bengal they are 41.6% and 11.8% and for Karnataka they are 41.7% and 11%.
When this inequity is pointed out, some respond that locations of national institutes and their locations do not matter as anyone from India can go and study there. Such people forget that premier institutions like IITs and central universities are also drivers of growth of the region where they are located. Also, many of these institutes have programs that mostly benefit locals, such as executive MBAs in the IIMs. Similarly, pursuit of a Ph.D. or a Masters in an IIT/IISc or a central university while teaching in a nearby institution is more feasible for locals.
Thus it is very important that the fully centrally funded institutions be distributed in an equitable manner across the country; the location decisions of the new institutions should not only aim towards achieving equitable distribution across the country but to some extent should also try to compensate for the past decades of inequity.
Whether the HRD ministry and the planning commission will do that and will be allowed (by the UPA coalition politics) to do that is the big question?
Some initial statements give the deprived states some hope. For example, a news report on the proposed new IITs mentions that HRD ministry officials have said that the new institutes will come up in areas where the higher education facilities are not very good. It quotes an HRD official saying that “We will look at new town and cities for establishing the centres of excellence.” Similarly, the Prime minister in 2005, while referring to regional imbalance issue in terms of educational institutions, said “I trust our government as well the state governments will take note of these findings and evolve policies to remedy these regional imbalances.” Another report quoted Prof. Bhalchandra Mungekar, Member (Education), Planning Commission saying: “I suggested that institutes of national importance should be dispersed as widely as possible for balanced regional development.”
However, with the dismal past record of institute locations being decided based on political considerations, even when they worsen regional inequity, citizens of India, especially from the deprived states, need to be watchful. With a bunch of new institutes, with varied budgets coming along, there may be attempts (we hope not) to give an appearance of balance while some of the big ticket items are again located in powerful states, or states with ties to powerful ministers and advisors, and if at all, some smaller budgeted institutes may then be doled to the really deserving but politically unimportant states. In this regard, it is helpful to know the approximate budget numbers for the various institutes. The biggest ticket items are the proposed new IITs. A news report mentions that each of them will need a sustained funding of Rs 650 crores annually for the first six years. In contrast the budget for making an IISER was estimated to be a total of 500 crores over 5-6 years. Thus, just from the locations of the proposed new IITs it will be very clear if regional inequity is being really addressed or if people are being taken for a ride by saying phrases like regional balance, equal opportunity, etc. and really doing something else and when pressed, justifying it with some reasonable sounding arguments. One such possible argument is that IITs need to be located near industries. Fine, now even the deprived states are going after industries and having success in getting them to their states. Another is possibly picking backward areas of already well-funded states. Again, the backward areas in the deprived states are even more backward! One can verify that from the list of 69 most backward districts made under the auspices of the Rajiv Gandhi foundation, which was recently mentioned by a planning commission member during his visit to Orissa.
Dear esteemed Planning Commission and HRD ministry, the citizens of India, especially from the states that are in the bottom of the HRD higher education funding are watching you and hereby put you on notice that you be true to your words and that you look after all of India with equal eyes.
Wednesday, January 17, 2007
Rajat Ghai[ 17 Jan, 2007 2350hrs ISTTIMES NEWS NETWORK ]
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The Central Government recently announced plans to set up a full-fledged IIT for Gujarat. They are the cream of Indian intellectual capital. The seven Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) have been India's pride since their establishment. And more so now, when India is a metaphor for 'model knowledge economy.' No wonder then that the Centre's announcement of developing two new IITs, one each for Gujarat and Kerala, gives reason for great excitement to people in the state. "An IIT is the need of the hour for Gujarat," feels M N Patel, principal of L D Engineering College, Ahmedabad. J N Goswami, director, Physical Research Laboratory (PRL), Ahmedabad, nods in assent. "As things stand, we have very few good institutes and a large number of mediocre ones, which results in mediocrity. It is better to have one big institute like an IIT." Why not raise existing technical institutes to the position of IITs? "Setting up a brand new IIT is a much better policy decision than converting existing ones since such a process takes a lot of time," feels P D Porey, director, Sardar Vallabhbhai Institute of Technology (SVNIT), Surat. Agrees Patel as he says, "You need a 200 acre area for an IIT. Unless you have a large campus, you cannot have the proper academic activities to stimulate the right attitude towards technology." Will the setting up of an IIT stimulate technological innovation in the state? "That depends on whether local entrepreneurs are interested in inventing new technology which is cognate with the curriculum of an IIT," says Goswami. But what of Gujarati students? A frequent refrain is of Gujarati students losing out to their counterparts from other states in premier institutes such as IIM-A. "The most fundamental problem is the difficulty students here face in using English," says Patel. Ironically though, he feels an IIT could remove this obstacle. "Having an institute of the rank of an IIT would lead students to develop more competitive mindsets." Surat-based educationist, Vardan Kabra, an IIT Delhi alumnus, feels that while an IIT is great news for Gujarat, efforts should also be made to increase technology education in different parts of the state. "We need more quality institutes in all parts of Gujarat if it is to become a cutting-edge leader in Science and Technology," he says.
Thursday, January 11, 2007
GUNJAN PRADHAN SINHA & G GANAPATHY SUBRAMANIAMTIMES NEWS NETWORK
[ TUESDAY, JANUARY 09, 2007 02:43:46 AM]
NEW DELHI: Budgets have a lot to do with number crunching, and Budget 2007 might just take it a step further — with a brand new institute of excellence for statistics. The government is considering a proposal to set up a new-age clone of Indian Statistical Institute (ISI) and discussions are on to allocate Rs 50 crore for this purpose. The issue popped up on the UPA government’s budget agenda following a demand from Tamil Nadu CM M Karunanidhi. The DMK supremo wants a premium institute for statistics to be set up in Chennai and has offered to provide 25 acres near Tharamani — an institutional area fast emerging as the hub for IT firms — free of cost. Acknowledging the enthusiasm of UPA’s southern ally, PM Manmohan Singh has constituted an inter ministerial group (IMG) to examine the proposal. Highly-placed government sources said deliberations are on and RC Panda, a Tamil Nadu cadre IAS officer who is currently functioning as statistics secretary, will co-ordinate with various departments, including finance, to give shape to the project. Incidentally, GK Vasan, a Congress leader from Tamil Nadu, is now the minister of state for statistics. Mr Karunanidhi wrote a formal letter to Mr Singh and followed it up recently with requests to speed up clearance, the sources said. The Tamil Nadu CM’s argument is that there is only one central institute of excellence dealing with statistics now which is located at Kolkata. In view of the growing importance of statistics due to strong economic growth, officials have also been feeling the need to have a strong database. Data support is considered vital to stress important issues at global fora like the World Trade Organization (WTO). The Tamil Nadu government has also submitted a concept paper which details the dire need for a premium statistics institute at Chennai. Mr Karunanidhi’s argument is that Tamil Nadu has been producing large number of graduates in mathematics, accountancy and statistics. During informal discussions, he has also stressed that renowned maths expert Ramanujan was born in Chennai and the city was the home to the Institute of Mathematical Sciences.
Monday, January 08, 2007
2007-01-08 09:05 Source : www.ibnlive.com
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New Delhi: Itâ€™s not an announcement of more holidays, but despite that thereâ€™s some good news for students of Andhra Pradesh.
The Centre has agreed to a proposal to give Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) status to the Andhra University Engineering College.
There are also plans that are afoot to bring an Indian Institute of Management (IIM) to the state.
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy made the announcement in Visakhapatnam.
So with the demand for a separate Telengana state gathering strength, Visakhapatnam is getting greater attention as the city has the potential to rival capital Hyderabad.
Apart from a 200-acre Ceramic City and a Medical Institute that has been planned, there is a 500-acre Educational Village where premier institutes will set up their campuses also in the offing.