Mata Amritanandamayi Math Trust which runs Amrita University in South may have a medical college and university near Bhubaneswar

August 27th, 2010

Update: A bit of Googling revealed that the trust also approached Andhra Pradesh about 2 weeks back. See http://expressbuzz.com/cities/hyderabad/amritanandamayi-math-plans-to-set-up-university/197221.html. Since their proposal to Odisha was sent about a year back, it is not clear if they are still interested in Odisha or because of Odisha’s delay they will go to Hyderabad. While their VC went to Hyderabad to meet AP CM, no one of that stature came to Odisha. So if Odisha really wants it they must move fast in offering the land.


Following is from a report in orissadiary.com.

Mata Amritanandamayi Math Trust proposed to set up an ultra modern medical college and hospital in the state. The Government has approved the proposal of the Mata Amritanandamayi Math Trust on Thursday for setting up of an ultra modern university in city at an investment of Rs 700 crore. In the first phase the Trust will invest a sum of Rs 500 crore and the admission will be started within two years.

The Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has approved the proposal of the Trust on Thursday . The proposed university would be provided 150 acres of land somewhere between Bhubaneswar and Khurda.

The Higher Education Minister Debi Prasad Mishra. said that the Chief Minister has approved the proposal of the Math Trust . As per the proposal, the Trust would set up a medical college and hospital along with institutions which would impart engineering, nano technology, biotechnology, ayurveda, Arts and Science subjects. The university would have facilities for imparting various courses to nearly 25 thousand students of which five percent would be reserved for meritorious students belonging to BPL families. It would provide study loans to the poor meritorious students. The Trust would also open off-campuses in other cities of the State, he said.

Informing about the success story of the universities set up by the Trust, the Minister said the former has already set up five universities in three States including Coimbatore of Tamil Nadu and Keral which have been successfully imparting quality education. The proposed university would invest Rs 3 crore per each bed in its medical college and hospital.

The trust has set a target to start admissions in two years time. It would begin the construction work forthwith after lands are allotted and no special legislation would be required, Minister said.

Indeed this trust has set up some very good institutions in the south. Its main institution, Amrita University is a very good university  with campuses in Kerala at Amritapuri and Kochi, in Karnataka at Bangalore and Mysore, and in Tamil Nadu at Ettimadai. (See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amrita_Vishwa_Vidyapeetham ) Its vice Chancellor Dr. P. Venkat Rangan is a well known scientist and very well respected in the US. Please see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Venkat_Rangan . He became a full professor at the age of 33 in a top US University (Univ of California San Diego). Amrita University‘s business, engineering and medical schools are nationally ranked: Amrita School of Business is ranked 28 (2010 rediff careers 360 ranking); Amrita School of Engineering is ranked 27 (2009 Dataquest ranking) and  Amrita School of Medical Sciences is ranked 18 (2009 India Today ranking). It has Schools of Engineering at Amritapuri, Bangalore and Ettimadai (Coimbatore), School of Business at Ettimadai Schools of Arts and Sciences at Amritapuri and Mysore, Schools of Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy and Dentistry at Kochi, and many other schools. It is in collaboration with major US Universities http://www.amrita.edu/indo-us/ . It is one of the very few universities in India that offers a dual Masters degree program together with a top US university (SUNY Buffalo). 


Some may be disappointed that why this university in Bhubaneswar and not in another place in Odisha. The following is what I was told. Some Odia disciples of Mata Amrutanandamayi approached the government about this almost a year back. The government proposed them another location away from Bhubaneswar.  The organization wanted Bhubaneswar. The last I heard the stalemate was going on. Today I read in the paper about this.

There is one lesson one can take away from this and other recent examples. Other locations which want such institutions should contact appropriate trusts and let the trust propose their location. I think the government will support that. Not only that if the location that is proposed is a backward area the government would chip in with land as well as 10 crores. The recent medical college proposal for Keonjhar comes to mind. So that is where the energy should be put. Alternatively, one may follow the JITM route, which now is a state university in Parlakhemundi. One needs to take such initiatives and be motivated by successes at other places.

For example, now that various organizations came together and successfully stopped Vedanta mining in Kalhandi, those organizations should be contacted to help the development of Kalahandi in other ways starting with higher educational institutions and eco-tourism infrastructure. I think Dr. Digambar Patra has already contacted some of them, but a more concerted effort would be good.

The SAIL medical college effort is also in the right direction. Please consider signing the petition at http://www.petitionodisha.in/health-care/sail-medical-college-at-rourkela/ .

Also, making efforts to improve the infrastructure in other places so that outside trusts are interested in those places is equally important. In that regard please consider signing the petition at http://www.petitionodisha.in/transportation/immediate-upgradation-of-airports-of-odisha/ which is about establishing functioning airports at Jharsuguda and Jeypore and initiating international flights to Bhubaneswar.

Entry Filed under: Bhubaneswar-Cuttack-Puri- Khurda area (1),Mata Amrutanandamayi Math Medical College Bhubaneswar,Mata Amrutanandamayi Math Trust University Bhubaneswar

3 Writeup

  • 1. stingidea  |  August 28th, 2010 at 5:47 pm

    Franky I think giving away prized lands close to Bhubaneswar to private education trusts is not such a great idea. We have already done this by giving land to the Sri Sri University. The government should take this as an opportunity to develop other cities in the state. I am sure if the trust is offered land in Cuttack, Berhampur, Rourkela, Sambalpur or Balasore it will not complain. Universities all over the world generally require a peaceful atmosphere and decent transport connectivity. All of the cities that I have mentioned above can provide what an Amrita University is looking for. Amrita University is located quite far from Coimbatore and yet this has not provided any impediment to its smooth functioning.
    Setting up a university in areas away from the capital city will help create a number of direct and indirect jobs that is so essential to the development of the state. Moreover, the long term impact a university, medical college or any professional education is huge. Therefore, I think it is in the interest of the government in setting up such universities away from the capital city which anyway will develop with or without them.
    Finally, I think the government needs to be a lot more transparent when it comes to the question of giving away government lands to private trusts.

  • 2. Chitta Baral  |  August 30th, 2010 at 6:13 am

    An interesting article at http://www.business-standard.com/india/news/ajit-rangnekarsavita-mahajan-driving-states-uplearning-curve/406241/

    Ajit Rangnekar & Savita Mahajan: Driving states up the learning curve

    Criticism of Punjab?s lease to ISB for its Mohali campus overlooks the long-term benefits of supporting high-quality education
    Ajit Rangnekar & Savita Mahajan / August 30, 2010, 0:46 IST

    A lot has been written in the press lately about the Punjab government’s decision to provide land to the Indian School of Business (ISB) for its second campus at Mohali. Some of the arguments and general angst about the absence of a national land use policy are valid. The argument that public land must be put to the best public use is also completely understandable. Let us, therefore, understand why governments allot land for educational use and why educational institutions need large tracts of land in urban areas.

    The role of any enlightened state government today is to attract industry, capital and create employment, growth and prosperity in the state. Many state governments — Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Punjab and Tamil Nadu in particular — are encouraging large employers to set up establishments in their states. These employers also need strong supporting infrastructure, like healthcare, education, entertainment to make their companies successful. Apart from attracting investments, governments have also begun to realise the social benefits of having high-quality educational institutions, since they act as a hub for attracting other talent-driven industries. That has been amply borne out by the ISB’s campus at Gachibowli, Hyderabad.

    Twelve years ago when construction started on the Hyderabad campus, there was no industry within 5 km of the site. Today, about 100,000 professionals are employed on the one-mile stretch outside the campus. This, in turn, leads to a large amount of indirect employment in supporting services such as food, entertainment, schooling and medical care. Obviously, ISB is not directly responsible for this large job and societal wealth creation, but as with many educational centres across the world, the presence of a top-quality educational institution encourages many more companies to establish external economies. Boston, Stanford and Austin in the US, and Cambridge in the UK are examples of how great businesses have been built around educational institutions.
    The Andhra Pradesh government has succeeded in attracting an Indian Institute of Information Technology, a new Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad (IIM-A) and some private educational institutions to make Hyderabad a major education hub to support the growing industry. The Punjab government is keen to replicate the same virtuous cycle by encouraging the creation of the 300-acre Knowledge City, where it is planning to locate not just ISB, but also an Institute of Science, one for nano-technology and another one for biotech, presumably all on the same basis of land allocation. All these institutions will create enormous synergies and benefit local industry.

    Why do educational institutions need low-cost land? First, to clarify, ISB is not a commercial institution. It is a not-for-profit organisation for which all contributions made by donors, whether individuals or corporations, are philanthropic in nature. Any surplus is ploughed back into the institution and not a single rupee is distributed to any of the donors as a return on their “investment”. In that sense, ISB, like any other not-for-profit educational institution, is a “public purpose entity”. ISB has been provided 70 acres (not 100) of land on long lease (and not outright sale) by the Punjab government. The terms of the lease agreement prohibit ISB from financially benefiting in any way from the use of the land other than for educational and research purposes. In fact, in the best sense of a public-private collaboration, the government has also achieved its investment objective with the donors and ISB investing ‘250 crore for the development of the Mohali campus in Punjab in the next year or so.

    The other important factor is that ISB is not a pure teaching institution. It is a research-driven institution and all the research that its faculty does is available in the public domain, free of cost. It does not do any privately sponsored research. Providing high-quality research infrastructure (databases, software, research manpower) requires funds which cannot be generated through fee income alone. The sustainability of a research-focused institution that does not “sell” its research output would be in serious jeopardy if it also had to spend large sums of money on acquiring land in the first place. That is why a public-private partnership makes a lot of sense — with the government contributing the land and private donors the funds for building infrastructure and hiring high-quality faculty.

    ISB’s research is not conducted for solely for the benefit of industry. It has also started research projects on public sector leadership and different aspects of affordable innovation that directly benefit the poor — low-income housing, employability and skilling and microfinance. The Mohali campus will focus on four areas of national importance — health care, manufacturing, infrastructure and public policy.

    That brings us to the last point about why today’s educational campuses cannot be too far from the city hub. Attracting high-quality faculty (and students) requires an existing ecosystem in reasonably close proximity to provide access to industry. Strong industry-academia interaction is critical for building a thriving academic institution. Similarly, high-quality essential services such as schooling for children and medical care have to be provided to attract the best talent. If a campus is too far away, the institution will have to provide these facilities, diverting scarce funds to services that are not core to the provision of high-quality education.

    Also, an educational institution’s life-span does not cover years or decades but centuries. A hundred years from now, 70 acres may be limiting and the campus will certainly have high-rise buildings, amidst an urban cluster. Much before that, like other great universities that started as standalone institutions, the IITs, the IIMs and ISB may well become full-fledged universities covering multiple disciplines and programmes, catering to thousands of students. Every major university in the world is facing a severe shortage of space because the initial estimates of land were grossly inadequate.

    Great institutions are not just about square feet of space, they are also about an ambience that encourages learning, and knowledge discovery. We need to be in an urban area, but a dense, urban cluster is not the most desired choice for such a great learning environment. Hence the need to create a “green, peaceful learning zone” near the city.

    Ajit Rangnekar is dean, ISB and Savita Mahajan is associate dean, ISB and chief executive, ISB-Mohali

  • 3. Sanjida  |  September 6th, 2010 at 2:29 pm

    I am totally agree with stingidea. One should not think about only capital of the state. State improvement means improvement of all cities in the state. I am south part of odisha. And I say frankly, there is no proper transport communication. There is no proper colleges, university. Everytime a student of this part has to go out for higher studies and ofcourse for job also. Why Government has kept quite. Why Government is not taking any responsibility for the growth of this part. Government should not forget this is also a part of odisha not out of odisha.


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