Odisha should pursue one of the sports and physical education university proposed by the 12th plan working group on Sports and Physical Education

The 12th plan working group report on Sports and Physical Education recommends the establishment of  four regional centres of LNUPE and 5 new sports and physical education universities or physical education colleges. Odisha must vigorously pursue the central government and the planning commission to get one of the proposed 5 sports and physical education universities.

In this regard, please send an email to the Odisha CM at cmo@ori.nic.in with content such as given below:

Dear Esteemed CM:

The 12th plan working group on Sports and Physical Education has recommended in their report at http://planningcommission.nic.in/aboutus/committee/wrkgrp12/hrd/wg_repsports.pdf that "for meeting the increasing demand of Physical Education Teachers and producing quality PETs, at least four regional centres of LNUPE and 5 new sports and physical education universities or physical education colleges should be opened during 12th
Plan. "

Kindly pursue with the central government regarding having one of these universities in Odisha.


Following are some rationale behind pursuing a Sports and Physical Education University. Please have a look at it at your leisure. 

While promoting sports,  besides providing good facilities (hostels, stadiums, turfs), what is most important is that the athletes are provided with opportunities to pursue some recognized degree/diploma/certificate of study so that they have alternate avenues of employment. For example, consider the story in http://www.indiablooms.com/SportsVideoDetails/sportsVideoDetails180312f.php.

Following is an excerpt from that story.

Renowned national woman footballer Jhilli Munda, who has represented India at international and national events in several tournaments, is bearing the brunt of acute poverty and she is forced to roll beedis to earn her bread and butter. 

It is well known that among the athletes that join the sports hostels, only a few make it to the state and national teams and of them only a few get appropriate jobs. What happens to the rest? It is sad to read about Jhili Munda’s story above. The point is until and unless we make sure that kids pursuing a career as an athlete have a way to make a living we can not significantly improve the sports scenario in Odisha and India. Now how do we make sure that *all* kids pursuing a career as an athlete have a way to make a living. 

The way to do that is to provide them with some *relevant education* in parallel with their athletics training such that even if they do not make it to the top in sports, they can get a good job and make a living. What are some of the relevant educational avenues and programs?

Some of them are:

  • Physical training
  • Coaching in various sports
  • Physiotherapy
  • Sports medicine
  • Exercise Physiology
  • Sports Psychology
  • Sports Biomechanics
  • Sports Management and Mass Communication
  • Health Sciences & Yoga
  • Sports Massage
  • Grounds Management
  • Health and fitness management
  • Sports journalism
  • Sports photography and 
  • Sports commentary.

Some of these courses are offered at the three established institutions in India:

In the 2011-12 budget there was mention of the following *new* initiatives: 

  • Rajiv Gandhi National Institute of Youth Development in Tamil Nadu: With a 2011-12 budget allocation of 10.8 crores (2010-11: 9.9 crores)
  • Laxmibai National Institute of Physical Education – NE area and Sikkim Initiative: With a 2011-12 budget allocation of 15 crores (2010-11: 3 crores)
In the 2012-13 budget (http://indiabudget.nic.in/ub2012-13/eb/sbe106.pdf ) there was the mention of the following *new* initiatives:

  • 7. Rajiv Gandhi National Institute of Youth Developmentin Tamil Nadu has a budget of 18.9 crores.
  • 28. National Institute of Sports Science and Sports Medicine 5 crores
  • 29. National Institute of Coaching Education 5 crores

Note that none of the above are in the eastern part of India and none are in the traditional tribal areas of India.

The 12th plan has a working group on Sports and Physical Education. They have a report at http://planningcommission.nic.in/aboutus/committee/wrkgrp12/hrd/wg_repsports.pdf .  In that report the following is mentioned.

5.15 It has been recommended that for meeting the increasing demand of Physical Education Teachers and producing quality PETs, at least four regional centres of LNUPE and 5 new sports and physical education universities or physical education colleges should be opened during 12th Plan. An outlay of Rs. 900 crore on this account during 12th Plan is projected.  
Thus we should vigorously pursue the establishment of  a National Sports Institute/University in Odisha that not only offers training in the sports Odisha excels in (Hockey – mens and womens, Football, Rowing, etc.) but also offers the above mentioned programs so that every athlete of Odisha is able to simultaneously pursue a certificate/diploma/degree in one of the above disciplines and is able to make a decent living.

Considering that Sundergarh and Rourkela area is the hotbed of Odisha athletics (mainly Hockey) and it is a tribal district, it would be good to locate the proposed National Sports Institute/University in Sundergarh/Rourkela. It may have branches in Kendrapada and Bhubaneswar to cater to the women footballers of Kendrapada and other sports persons in Bhubaneswar/Cuttack. Moreover the university in Sundergarh/Rourkela can also cater to athletes in Jharkhand.

The recent election of Mr. Dilip Tirkey as a Rajya Sabha MP can be seen/argued as an indication that the Odisha government is serious about promoting sports in a wholesome way, with particular attention to adivasis.

May 1st, 2012

Urgent action needed: Please write to the CMO to pursue a Central Agricultural University in Odisha

Currently India has one operational Central Agricultural University in the North East. However, in last year’s budget there was some seed money for a Central Agricultural University in Bundelkhand. We wrote the planning commission (with cc to Odisha CM, Odisha MPs and Odisha officers) in May 2011 for a Central Agricultural University in backward district clusters of India. In July 2011 West Bengal started pursuing a Central Agricultural University and its very likely that they would get one.

Odisha CM must at the earliest ask for a Central Agricultural University in Odisha. Please immediately write to cmo@ori.nic.in (he is in Delhi for the next few days) asking him to ask for a Central Agricultural University in Odisha. He must do that before the budget session in the parliament that starts next week. A 2-3 line email such as the following is fine.

Dear Esteemed Chief Minister: Please request the Agriculture ministry at the center for a Central Agricultural University. There is high likelihood that some other states will be getting such universities. Odisha must ask for one. Sincerely, XYZ.

See http://www.orissalinks.com/archives/7056 for some background on this. See also http://on.fb.me/y6hdoP and http://bit.ly/x2t3RD for couple of articles on this.

1 comment March 7th, 2012

Unknown History: My column in Telegraph, Monday, January 23rd, 2012

The column is at http://www.telegraphindia.com/1120123/jsp/odisha/story_15040583.jsp. Thank you Telegraph publishing this and Priya and Bibhuti for making it happen and encouraging me.

Some indentations are missing in the column. So my original submission is given below. I appeal to the readers to write to the CM and Chief Secretary at cmo@ori.nic.in and csori@ori.nic.in respectively and urge them to at least take teh actions mentioned in the article below. In this regard, note that the way Nalanda International University happened is that the Bihar CM Nitish Kumar pushed it with the PM as well as stalwarts like Amartya Sen. The Odisha government (namely the CM and CS) need to take similar steps.

While most people in Odisha have read in their history text books about Nalanda as an ancient center of higher learning and know about Bodhgaya as a Buddhist site where Buddha is said to have attained enlightenment , very few of us know about the Buddhist sites of Ratnagiri, Lalitgiri and Udayagiri in the Jajpur district of Odisha and even fewer have visited them; many confuse the Buddhist site of Udayagiri in Jajpur district with the Khandagiri-Udayagiri in Bhubaneswar.

This is somewhat unfortunate as top researchers in Archaeology and art history have compared Ratnagiri with Nalanda and Bodhgaya and such comparisons have been reported in books and articles written in India and abroad.

The three sites of Ratnagiri, Udayagiri and Lalitgiri are identified as the sites of the ancient Ratnagiri Mahavihara, Madhavpur Mahavihara and Chandraditya Vihara and the proceedings of the 1998 Indian Art History Congress makes a mention of this.

Debala Mitra, the Director General of Archaeological Survey of India during 1975-1983, who explored and excavated several Buddhist sites in India, and wrote many books on various archaeological sites in India, wrote a two volume book on Ratnagiri and another book titled“Buddhist monuments of India” . In the latter book she compares Ratnagiri with Nalanda and says the following.

… Recent excavations of the top of the hillock brought to light imposing remains of one of the most important Buddhist establishments, reclaimed as Ratnagiri-mahavihara (and not Pushpagiri-viahara as presumed by some) on the basis of a number of sealings bearing the legend S’ri-Ratnagiri-mahavihariy-aryabikshu-sanghasya. With its nucleus dating atleast from about the fifth century A.D., the establishment witnessed a phenomenal growth in religion, art and architecture till the twelfth century A.D. It played a significant role in disseminating Buddhist culture and religion forming itself, like Nalanda, an important religious and philosophical academy, to which flocked the entrants and scholars to take lessons from the intellectual stalwarts of Buddhism.

She backs up her claims with multitude of evidence including references to Tibetan literature such as:

Taranatha in his History of Buddhism in India (completed in A.D. 1608) says that a vihara, called Ratnagiri, was built on the crest of a mountain in the kingdom of Odivisa (Orissa) in the reign of Buddhapaksha (identified with the Gupta Emperor Narasinghagupta Baladitya of the Gupta dynasty by N. Dutt), an in this vihara were kept three sets of Mahayana and Hinayana sastras, etc., and there were eight great groups of dharma (religious schools?) and five hundred monks. According to the Pag Sam Jon Zang (completed in A.D. 1747), Acharya Bitoba went through magic to Sambhala where he obtained the Kalachakra-tantra, brought it to Ratnagiri and explained the doctrine to Abodhutipa, Bodhisri, and Naropa. This and other Tibetan references indicate that Ratnagiri was a renowned center, noted for the spiritual inspiration and lively pursuit of the Kalachakra-tantra in the latter part of the tenth century A.D.

Addressing some concerns by researchers she says:

The veracity of these late Tibetan works, which is often questioned, is amply borne out by the excavated remains which are spectacular even in their ruins. The excavation laid bare the remains of an imposing stupa (Main Stupa), rebuilt at least once, two magnificent qudrangular monasteries (Monasteries 1 and 2), also rebuilt at least once, a single-winger monastery, eight temples, a large number of stupas, sculptures and architectural pieces, objects of daily use and hundreds of other evidences of what life was like in these sumptuous monasteries. Indeed, excavations have revealed that here was an establishment that can be compared with that of Nalanda. In the overwhelming number of portable monolithic stupas Ratnagiri can compete even with Bodh-Gaya. … The number of these antiquities is an adequate index of the profound popularity and sanctity of this center in the Buddhist world.

All of the above are elaborated in her book on Ratnagiri where she says the following regarding Monastery 1 being the finest such structure unearthed in India.

Notwithstanding its normal monastic plan, it is a singular structural monument not only for its impressive size and symmetrical planning but for the rich but balanced surface-treatment of the front porch and the façade of the shrine. Not a single monastery of Nalanda, which has yielded so far the largest number of spectacular structural monasteries , can compete with this one in respect of embellishment. … Indeed, the monastery is the finest structural one so far unearthed in India.

Although Debala Mitra’s books have the most detailed references and arguments regarding the important of Ratnagiri vis-à-vis Nalanda and Bodhgaya, a search (of Ratnagiri and Nalanda) in http://books.google.com shows that her views are agreed upon and propagated in books and articles published around the globe.

I corresponded and personally met Prof. Thomas Donaldson of Cleveland who has written many books on art history of Odisha and India. In one of his emails to me he wrote:

As you know Ratnagiri was a rival to Nalanda as a site of Buddhist learning and some later Tibetan texts even ascribe the origin of Mahayana and Tantrayana to Ratnagiri. Collectively the three closely situated sites certainly compare artistically to the site of Nalanda.

From the above it is quite evident that Ratnagiri in Odisha, by itself is a site that is comparable to Nalanda and Bodh Gaya in many aspects and together with the nearby Lalitgiri and Udayagiri they form a triangle of an unparalleled Buddhist complex in India. Unfortunately, this is not much known to people in Odisha, let alone outside Odisha. Although the Odisha government has been trying to create a tourist circuit around these sites, it is yet to bear fruit.

In that regard we suggest the following:

(i) The Odisha government create a major tourist campaign using some of the above mentioned quotes in huge hoardings in places such as Bhuaneswar airport, station, and major tourist sites and offices in Odisha and India.

(ii) The Odisha government pursue the imemdiate establishment of a centrally funded Indian Institute of Arcaheology and Art History located near these sites to produce adequate number of trained manpower to expedite the excavations in Udayagiri and recently discovered nearby sites such as the Langudi hills site.

In addition it should help in the recent effort to establish a Ratnagiri-Puspagiri International University as a revival of the Ratnagiri and Puspagiri Mahaviharas along the lines of the recently revived Nalanda International University; Puspagiri being the Mahavihara mentioned in Hiuen Tsang’s Si-yu-ki and thought by many to represent a subset of Ratnagiri, Lalitgiri and Udayagiri; but is yet to substantiated by archaeological evidence.

Last December, I had a chance to discuss the above compilations of quotes with Utkal University professors of the Department of Ancient Indian History, Art History & Archaeology and also with the Culture and Tourism Secretary. Although I was not able to discuss this with the CM or CS, I hope the above points will be forwarded to them and they will quickly take some necessary actions. Additional details on this is available at http://www.facebook.com/puspagiri .

2 comments January 23rd, 2012

Reading Comprehension is the most neglected aspect of Indian School Education; the focus needs to be on that

I have been thinking of this issue since December when I interacted with a niece and nephew of mine (see below). Today I came across a TOI report on Indian students being at the bottom (2nd from bottom), which made me reflect further and write this post. Following are some excerpts from that report.

Fifteen-year-old Indians who were put, for the first time, on a global stage stood second to last, only beating Kyrgyzstan when tested on their reading, math and science abilities.

India ranked second last among the 73 countries that participated in the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), conducted annually to evaluate education systems worldwide by the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) Secretariat. The survey is based on two-hour tests that half a million students are put through.

The states of Tamil Nadu and Himachal Pradesh, showpieces for education and development, were selected by the central government to participate in PISA, but their test results were damning.

15-yr-old Indians 200 points behind global topper

Tamil Nadu and Himachal, showpieces of India’s education and development, fared miserably at the Programme for International Student Asssment, conducted by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development Secretariat.

An analysis of the performance of the two states showed:

In math, considered India’s strong point, they finished second and third to last, beating only Kyrgyzstan

When the Indian students were asked to read English text, again Tamil Nadu and Himachal Pradesh were better than only Kyrgyzstan. Girls were better than boys

The science results were the worst. Himachal Pradesh stood last, this time behind Kyrgyzstan. Tamil Nadu was slightly better and finished third from the bottom

The average 15-year-old Indian is over 200 points behind the global topper. Comparing scores, experts estimate that an Indian eighth grader is at the level of a South Korean third grader in math abilities or a second-year student from Shanghai when it comes to reading skills.

The report said: "In Himachal, 11% of students are estimated to have a proficiency in reading literacy that is at or above the baseline level needed to participate effectively and productively in life. It follows that 89% of students in Himachal are estimated to be below that baseline level."

The detailed and insightful blog posts here, here, here, here and here have more details on this PISA test and MHRD’s reaction to India’s performance.

So here are my personal thoughts on this.

As I mentioned earlier, this December I interacted with a nephew and a niece in India. This niece lives in a small town (Vyasanagar) and had 85%+ in her class ten exam and was preparing for her +2 Science exams. She was very good at solving math problems on topics that she had already learned. For some reason I asked her to read a new section in the book and solve the problems at the end of the section. She could not do it. She asked me to explain that section. Upon further inquiry I found that her studying pattern was to attend "tuition" where the tuition master would explain a particular section of a book and then give problems. In other words she was lacking in "reading comprehension". The same story with respect to my nephew, an engineering student. He could not read a section on his own and understand it well enough to solve the problems at the end of the chapter.

Considering the prevalance of "tuition" in India the above are not isolated cases. I think the "epidemic" of tuition is due to the fact that most school students in India have not developed the "reading comprehension" skills. That is because developing the "reading comprehension" is neither emphasized nor tested and this is especially true with respect to "Reading comprehension in English".

Starting from the very beginning, English text books have a series of chapters with stories, essays or poems and at the end of it there are questions with respect to them. This seemingly suggests that students using those text books are being taught  "Reading comprehension in English".

That is not the case.

Most often, the teachers or the tutors read the text and explain the students those chapters. At times they may ask the students to read the text aloud.  But that does not automatically develop the "reading comprehension" skills.

I am surprised that the neglect of the development of "reading comprehension" skills has not been widely noticed and acted upon. Following are pointers to some places where they have been noticed. But I am not sure they have been properly addressed.

The wonderful organization Pratham  has a "Read India" program. Following is an excerpt from their main page:

Read India was therefore launched on a national scale in 2007 to help achieve the following objectives:  

    * All Std I children know at least alphabets & numbers.
    * All Std II children can read at least words & do simple sums.
    * All Std III-V children can at least read simple texts fluently & confidently solve arithmetic problems.

Later in that page they have:

In 2009-10 Read India moved to the next level, Read India II, focuses on higher grade-specific learning competencies, where basics have been achieved.2010 onwards, Read India II moved from our previously used model of short-term large-scale learning campaign mode to a longer, more sustained presence in the villages that we work in, in order to bring about a deeper more permanent impact.

However, no where in that page "Reading Comprehension" is mentioned. But by googling the phrase "Reading to Learn R2L methodologies Pratham" I was able to reach the page http://www.prathamusa.org/programs/learning-support-classes where "reading comprehension" is mentioned in the following context.

Read to learn (R2L) picks up where Learn to Read leaves off.  Out-of-school children are the priority of the program. Once children have built their basic reading skills, they are taught how to read with comprehension and express what they have learned. R2L classes have two phases:

  • Phase 1 (R2L1) strengthens reading, comprehension of school and other texts, and independent writing.
  • Phase 2 (R2L2) ensures that the children complete the basic curriculum for Grade III as prescribed by the National Council for Education Research and Training (NCERT).

The 2006 NCERT document at http://www.ncert.nic.in/new_ncert/ncert/rightside/links/pdf/focus_group/english.pdf makes the following point.

3.5 Text Books

All this implies much more teacher and learner control over the texts used in class, including textbooks. Curricular freedom cannot exist in the presence of a single prescribed text. Earlier practices of choosing from a range of available texts can be revived; some states like Orissa have come up with innovative textbooks with short units that can be “covered” within a single class (Sunwani 2005), incorporating the idea of a reading card. Language should be seen as a “dynamic” text, i.e. exposure should be to new occurrences of comparable language samples everyday, rather than repeatedly to a single text
that is mastered (Amritavalli (1999) makes an analogy with the learning of a raga in Indian classical music). This will prepare the child for tests of “unseen” comprehension passages. Teachers and learners need to evolve for themselves a balance in the use of predictable and unpredictable texts that suits their individual levels of comfort.

But I wonder if anything has been done about it.

What needs to be done is from the very beginning "Reading comprehension" should be emphasized and tested. How? As suggested in the above mentioned NCERT document, students should be trained to read passages on their own and answer questions about them. They should be tested with respect to passages they have not seen before. This needs to happen in every class starting from the class where they learn the language.

The site http://www.nclrc.org/essentials/reading/reindex.htm makes a good case of the importance of "Reading Comprehension" and how should it be approached differently from the traditional approach. (The traditional approach is followed in India with additional drawbacks of the teachers and tutors doing the comprehension.) Following is from that page:

Teaching Reading

Traditionally, the purpose of learning to read in a language has been to have access to the literature written in that language. In language instruction, reading materials have traditionally been chosen from literary texts that represent "higher" forms of culture.

This approach assumes that students learn to read a language by studying its vocabulary, grammar, and sentence structure, not by actually reading it. In this approach, lower level learners read only sentences and paragraphs generated by textbook writers and instructors. The reading of authentic materials is limited to the works of great authors and reserved for upper level students who have developed the language skills needed to read them.

The communicative approach to language teaching has given instructors a different understanding of the role of reading in the language classroom and the types of texts that can be used in instruction. When the goal of instruction is communicative competence, everyday materials such as train schedules, newspaper articles, and travel and tourism Web sites become appropriate classroom materials, because reading them is one way communicative competence is developed. Instruction in reading and reading practice thus become essential parts of language teaching at every level.

Reading Purpose and Reading Comprehension

Reading is an activity with a purpose. A person may read in order to gain information or verify existing knowledge, or in order to critique a writer’s ideas or writing style. A person may also read for enjoyment, or to enhance knowledge of the language being read. The purpose(s) for reading guide the reader’s selection of texts.

The purpose for reading also determines the appropriate approach to reading comprehension. A person who needs to know whether she can afford to eat at a particular restaurant needs to comprehend the pricing information provided on the menu, but does not need to recognize the name of every appetizer listed. A person reading poetry for enjoyment needs to recognize the words the poet uses and the ways they are put together, but does not need to identify main idea and supporting details. However, a person using a scientific article to support an opinion needs to know the vocabulary that is used, understand the facts and cause-effect sequences that are presented, and recognize ideas that are presented as hypotheses and givens.

Reading research shows that good readers

  • Read extensively
  • Integrate information in the text with existing knowledge
  • Have a flexible reading style, depending on what they are reading
  • Are motivated
  • Rely on different skills interacting: perceptual processing, phonemic processing, recall
  • Read for a purpose; reading serves a function

Reading as a Process

Reading is an interactive process that goes on between the reader and the text, resulting in comprehension. The text presents letters, words, sentences, and paragraphs that encode meaning. The reader uses knowledge, skills, and strategies to determine what that meaning is.

Reader knowledge, skills, and strategies include

  • Linguistic competence: the ability to recognize the elements of the writing system; knowledge of vocabulary; knowledge of how words are structured into sentences
  • Discourse competence: knowledge of discourse markers and how they connect parts of the text to one another
  • Sociolinguistic competence: knowledge about different types of texts and their usual structure and content
  • Strategic competence: the ability to use top-down strategies (see Strategies for Developing Reading Skills for descriptions), as well as knowledge of the language (a bottom-up strategy)

The purpose(s) for reading and the type of text determine the specific knowledge, skills, and strategies that readers need to apply to achieve comprehension. Reading comprehension is thus much more than decoding. Reading comprehension results when the reader knows which skills and strategies are appropriate for the type of text, and understands how to apply them to accomplish the reading purpose.


Section Contents

Goals and Techniques for Teaching Reading
Strategies for Developing Reading Skills
Developing Reading Activities
Using Textbook Reading Activities
Assessing Reading Proficiency

One should read the above pointers to get the whole picture of how to do it right.

January 15th, 2012

Fifth anniversary of this site: We started with campaigning for a central university in KBK; Its time to campaign for a central agricultural university in KBK (especially Kalahandi)

Our first posting in this site was on November 28th, 2006. It is at http://www.orissalinks.com/archives/7. It was about a central university in KBK. We succeeded in our mission and a central university in KBK was announced in March 2008, and it has now been established in Koraput district.

Earlier this year (On May 22nd 2011) I wrote to the planning commission to establish a central agricultural university in Odisha as part of the 12th plan. Following are excerpts of my mail.

I propose that the 12th plan staring from 2012 include several Central Agricultural Universities in backward district clusters of India that have potential for agriculture.

Sirs and and Madams: One of the biggest achievement of the 11th plan was that the new institutions (16 central universities, 8 new IITs, 7 new IIMs, proposed 20 new IIITs, proposed 14 innovation universities) were located across India, in states ruled by UPA, in states not ruled by UPA, and so on. It was an inclusive distribution and less driven by political connections.

I  request that similar distribution be made with respect to the institutions that are proposed for the 12th plan, starting with several central agricultural universities with various colleges (Agriculture, Horticulture, Veterinary, etc.).

The initial wave of creation of agricultural universities across India (in the 1960s) were an important factor in the initial Green revolution of India. However, as has been noted in the last two budgets (2010-11 and 2011-12) there is a need for another such revolution, especially taking into account factors such as (i) further mechanization (ii) urbanization (iii) looking east  and (iv) developing backward and tribal areas.

In the 2010-11 budget speech ( http://indiabudget.nic.in/ub2010-11/bs/speecha.htm ) the Finance Minister had said the following:

44.        The agriculture sector occupies centre-stage in our resolve to promote inclusive growth, enhance rural incomes and sustain food security. To spur the growth in this sector, the Government intends to follow a four-pronged strategy covering (a) agricultural production; (b) reduction in wastage of produce;
(c) credit support to farmers; and (d) a thrust to the food processing sector.

45.        The first element of the strategy is to extend the green revolution to the eastern region of the country comprising Bihar, Chattisgarh, Jharkhand, Eastern UP, West Bengal and Orissa,…

In the 2011-12 budget speech ( http://indiabudget.nic.in/bspeecha.asp ) he said the following:

Bringing Green Revolution to Eastern Region

52.    The Green Revolution in Eastern Region is waiting to happen. To realize the potential of the region, last year’s initiative will be continued in 2011-12 with a further allocation of `400 crore. The program would target the improvement in the rice based cropping system of Assam, West Bengal, Orissa, Bihar, Jharkhand, Eastern Uttar Pradesh and Chhattisgarh.

Both speech say the green revolution needs to be extended to the eastern region.  The allocation of a total of 400 crores to 7 states is miniscule for the purpose and does very little.

Hence, I request that this aspect of extending the green revolution to the eastern region be taken seriously and in the 12th plan Central Agricultural Universities be established in appropriate locations in these states and some of the other states of the country.

Somewhat of a start in this direction has been made via the allocation of 30 crores for a Central Agricultural University in Bundelkhand in the 2011-12 budget.

It was reported by the press that Mr. Rahul Gandhi lobbied for this.

I would like to thank him for his vision and initiative and humbly request the  planning commission that they need to also think of the other backward areas of the country.

Taking all the above into account, it would be a win-win to include the establishment of several Central Agricultural Universities in the country located in backward districts with agriculture potential. The win-win aspects are:

(i) They will help higher education and GER, but will not stress the MHRD budget or its management. The majority of the funding could come from the Ministry of Agriculture with some required contributions from the state governments.

(ii) They will help bring in a new green revolution in some areas and extend the green revolution to the eastern region.

(iii) Since there have not been many new agricultural universities across the country, it will be comparatively easier to recruit faculty for these new institutions.

(iv) By locating them in the backward district clusters, they will bring Bharat and India closer.

I had sent copies of my mail to the MPs of Odisha as well as the Chief Minister’s officer. I talked to the secretary of agriculture Ranglal Jamunda by email at agrsec.or@nic.in  as well as by phone and urged him that the Odisha government must push for a central agricultural university in Odisha, especially in the KBK regions (in particular, Kalahandi, as Kalahandi is known to be one of the rice bowl of Odisha; and Kalahandi was skipped over when deciding on the location of the central university in Koraput).

My emails and phone calls has had no visible impact on Odisha government, Odisha officials or Odisha MPs as so far I have not read any news regarding Odisha pursuing a central agricultural university. However, the news of the West Bengal government  pursuing a central agricultural university came out after a few days of my writing to the planning commission. It is possible that may mail to the planning commission somehow got forwarded to the right people in West Bengal or it may just be a pure coincidence. Following is from a Telegraph article on 13th July 2011.

I think there is still time to pursue to get this included in the 12th plan. I request all readers to write to the Chief Minister’s office at cmo@ori.nic.in regarding this.


Chitta Baral

11 comments November 29th, 2011

The Lalitgiri-Ratnagiri-Udaygiri ancient Buddhist knowledge center in Odisha; has been compared with Nalanda in the art history and archaeology literature

(Appeal to readers: I would appreciate any additional pointers to literature where the knowledge center aspects of the Odisha buddhist monuments have been discussed and/or they have been compared with the well-known buddhist sites in India such as Nalanda, Bodhgaya, Sanchi, etc.)

We all have read about Nalanda and Taxila as ancient learning centers and they are often referred to the as precursor of the present day universities. In Odisha the yet to be identified Puspagiri mahavihara as well as the Lalitgiri-Ratnagiri-Udaygiri  have been compared with Nalanda in the art history and Buddhist literature. Following are some slides (in facebook) which compiles that information. In these slides we quote extensively from Mrs. Debala Mitra’s two  books. Mrs. Mitra was the Director General of the Archaeological Survey of India (1975-1983) [Page 448 of this book] and has written extensively on various Monuments of India.

The above slides do not have any pictures. As is mentioned in some of the slides, the Lalitgiri-Ratnagiri-Udaygiri Mahaviharas are also comparable to Bodhgaya in certain respects and one slide mentioned how none of the monasteries in Nalanda can compare with the embellishment in one of the monastery found in Ratnagiri. The following pictures, again from facebook, gives one the idea of what has been found in Lalitgiri-Ratnagiri-Udaygiri and the beauty and significance of them.

In 2010 the Indian Parliament passed the Nalanda International University Bill. This university is in the making now and this wikipedia page has information on it. We hope that some day more people in Odisha and India will know about Lalitgiri-Ratnagiri-Udaygiri and a similar university (perhaps called Puspagiri University, the yet to be identified Mahavihara about which Hiuen Tsang wrote glowingly) will be established in Odisha. Towards that effort  some background information has been compiled in a facebook page and a facebook account. Following is a glimpse of the information that has been collected.

November 18th, 2011

Prof. Bala Balachandran meets the Odisha CM regarding the proposed University of Corporate Excellence

Update: Following is an excerpt from a Business Standard article dated Dec 13 2010.

Bala V Balachandran, founder & dean of Great Lakes Institute of Management in Chennai, is in talks with Tata Foundation and Pirojsha Godrej Foundation to sell nearly 51 per cent stake in his institute.

“I have 90 per cent stake in my institute. I have decided to give the ownership to somebody who can give me some money to expand. I may offload as much as 51 per cent. The valuation of the institute would be around Rs 220 crore,” Balachandran told Business Standard on the sidelines of an event in Mumbai.

… Great Lakes also plans to open campuses in Gurgaon and Bhubaneswar. While it has bought some land in Gurgaon, the Orissa government has leased it 100 acres of land for 99 years.

The Gurgaon campus will require around 50 crore to set up and the Orissa campus would be set up at a cost of Rs 100 crore.

Following is from a report in http://www.tathya.in/news/story.asp?sno=4966.

… Mr.Patnaik met Padmashree Prof. Balachandran , Professor of the Kellogg Institute of Management, USA here on 7 February.

After setting up the Indian School of Business, Hyderabad, along with some like-minded people, he started his Great Lakes Institute of Management, Chennai.

Now Prof. Balachandran has expressed his interest to set up UoCE near the Capital City.

… Hara Prasad Das, State President of the Infinity Education Foundation (IEF), Prasanta Kumar Mishra and Priyadarshi Mishra were present in the meeting.

IEF has given the proposal and has requested the Collector Khurda to provide land measuring an area of 88 acres for the university, which needs at least 100 acres.

Prof. Balachandran said that the UoCE would endeavour to create a well- rounded corporate manager, who will have solid foundation in basic disciplines such as Economics, Mathematics, Social Science and Business Communications.

The University will have School of Technology, School of Business, School of Law and School of Advanced Studies.

Chief Minister asked Mr.Mishra, Minister Higher Education to study the proposal and he promised to extend all out support for the same, said an official.

UoCE will have top collaborative universities including Carnegie Mellon University, MIT, IIT, Harvard Business School, Kellogg School of Management, Harvard Law School, Yale Law School and several others.

IEF has also planned for setting up of a Knowledge City to optimise high quality world class infrastructure and facilities for multiple universities located in a cluster within one campus.

They require 1000 acres of land for the purpose and investment will go up to Rs.10,000 crore, said Mr.Mishra, Minister Higher Education.

Some behind the scenes story and lesson: Dr. Prasanta Mishra mentioned above has played a significant role in partnering with Prof. Balachandran. Dr. Prasanta Mishra himself is one of the cofounders of KIIT and one of the founders of Temple City Institute of Technology and Engineering. The lesson for others, especially from other areas of Odisha who would like similar institutions/universities in their area, is to start with an institute near your preferred area, and use that experience to bring in well reputed and experienced people to your team and then make proposals to the Odisha government for bigger things. Alternatively one may invite reputed trusts with deep pockets to set up institutions/universities in one’s preferred area. If these reputed trusts with deep pockets go to Odisha government and say that they would like to open an institute in XYZ area, then, I am sure, the government would be happy to support them. Moreover, if the XYZ area lacks opportunities then the government may even chip in a few crores as they are doing with the proposed Xavier campus in Balangir and with various private medical college proposals in several backward districts and western Odisha districts.

February 8th, 2011

Hope Vedanta University does not become Orissa’s Nano: Rinkesh Pati in Orissadiary

Following is from http://www.orissadiary.com/ShowOriyaColumn.asp?id=21178 with permission from the author Rinkesh Pati.

It’s not been a long time since the major auto mobile giant, Tata moved out of West Bengal and relocated its new Nano plant to Gujarat after facing stiff opposition from the Trinamool congress party in the Bengal state. Whatever be the stand of the Trinamool party on this matter, the final outcome was that West Bengal lost a great opportunity of aggrandizing its industrial growth that could have brought several benefits to the Singur locality and the state in terms of jobs, per capita income, infrastructure development etc. The vested interests of few political leaders forced the Tata Company to finally move out of the state and look for other favored locations. I fear Orissa doesn’t face the same fate with the Vedanta University project.

It is quite obvious that whenever a new industry or any other major construction is going to be set up in a place, there will be issues like displacement, rehabilitation, fertile land accusation, environmental issues, and concerns of indigenous tribal communities or farmers, followed by opposition to such developments. This is quite natural and it happens everywhere. But these are not the issues which can’t be addressed. The real problem arises when political parties jump into the matter and leave no stone unturned to gain every bit of political mileage out of the issue. They mislead the innocent villagers with their stories and try to give them an impression that the development work is going to affect the area’s cultural values, environment etc.

Their stories may be partially true. But the point is, such concerns can be addressed and resolved amicably by peaceful and constructive discussions among the concerned parties. In this fight, everyone forgets the bigger picture i.e. the greater objective behind the development plan. An institution like Vedanta University will definitely change Orissa’s image in the entire world. Not only will it help Orissa prosper in the field of education and research, it will also bring plenty of opportunities for the state and its people. A big university spreading across 4000 acres of land will bring unimaginable benefits to the economy of Orissa. It will create plenty of job opportunities, scopes for new businesses and infrastructure development and will definitely help improve the living standards of the people of the adjoining localities. This will also help alleviate problems like poverty, unemployment, illiteracy in the state. If Vedanta University turns up the way it has been planned, Orissa will definitely be able pride for decades and centuries to come for housing a university of such magnificent stature.

Despite being announced several years back the university project has witnessed only zero progress as it has always been surrounded by various issues. Initially, it was the stiff opposition by the local political parties and the misled villagers who started displaying vehemence against the project staff. Then there were environmental concerns over the proposed project.

The project was first granted the environmental nod as well as the CRZ (Coastal Regulatory Zone) clearance by the MoEF (Union Ministry of Environment and Forest) in April this year. But the clearance was suspended just one month later. Now the MoEF alleges the OCZMA (Orissa Coastal Zone Management Authority) of not producing sufficient information. I am not overruling the possibility of valid environmental concerns, but I believe these concerns can be addressed if all the political parties and government agencies adopt a balanced developmental approach.

My apprehension is that, the continuous hurdles before the university project in Orissa has opened doors of hopes for other states. Chief Ministers of states like Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka have already started wooing the Anil Agarwal Foundation for shifting the project to their states. Other states will very soon line up in the race and will offer guarantee of facilitating favorable environment for the giant project. The irony is that major political parties like Congress and BJP, which are running their governments in AP and Karnataka respectively, have been strongly protesting the Vedanta project in Orissa since the very beginning. If the circumstances in Orissa do not change, Vedanta may one day shift the university to some other state.

My views are not pro-vedanta, they are rather pro-development. This is the need of the time that all political parties raise above politics, and take steps forward to ensure that the gridlock created before the university project gets cleared soon. With Bhubaneswar being a fast developing city and an upcoming industrial and educational hub, the gargantuan projects like Vedanta University will definitely accelerate the momentum and will help in the progress of the state.

[Writer Rinkesh Kumar Pati, from Bhubaneswar, currently staying in Arkansas, USA, users can contact him by adding comments here.]

This is a good article by Rinkesh. I hope other readers with similar concerns will take similar steps.

5 comments September 13th, 2010

Is Minister Jairam Ramesh scheming to take the 15,000 crore Vedanta University to the south?

It seems like Vedanta University is seriously considering to move to a location in the Southern states. (For those who may not know much about Vedanta University; it is a university proposed by London based industrialist Anil Agarwal who has pledged $1 Billion = 5000 crores of his own money towards this university which will have an overall budget of 15,000 crores. Note that the budgte of a new IIT is about 800 crores, a new AIIMS is about 850 crores, a new IIM is 215 cores, a new IISER is 500 crores. So just the 5000 crore is greater than having 2 IITs, 2 AIIMS, 2 IIMs and 2 IISERs. See http://vedanta.edu.in/ for more details.)

Following are some excerpts from recent news items:

(i) http://www.businessworld.in/bw/2010_07_24_The_Learning_Curve.html

    “Agarwal’s other project in Orissa — Vedanta University — seems to be going nowhere. It appears it would take years before the first brick is laid on his most ambitious, and grandest, education project…. Agarwal, founder of London-based Vedanta Group, turned heads in 2006 when he said he would set up an 8,000-acre, $3-billion university under the aegis of Vedanta Foundation (which later changed its name to Anil Agarwal Foundation or AAF) in the state’s coastal town of Puri. He also offered $1 billion from his personal funds. Agarwal’s holding in his companies is worth more than $10 billion (as on 31 March 2010).

Two states have extended an invitation; a decision is likely to be taken on a new site in two months,” says Ajit Kumar Samal, in-charge of the university project. He, however, refuses to divulge more details. Experts say the alternatives to Orissa could be Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh, which have good educational infrastructure.

(ii) http://sify.com/finance/vedanta-may-shift-varsity-to-southern-states-news-default-kgobu9ifgjb.html

The Anil Agarwal Foundation’s plan to set up a Rs 15,000- crore varsity in Puri (Orissa), called Vedanta University, has come a cropper. The management is now in talks with two southern states for alternative land to set up the varsity.

Although there has been opposition from inside Orissa mainly because some people are against Vedanta due to its Kalahandi operations and partly because some people are against the huge land requirement for this university, the last straw seems to be the action taken by the Minister of Environment in Delhi Mr. Jairam Ramesh. His action stopped the construction that was about to happen. See http://moef.nic.in/downloads/public-information/env-crz-vedanta.pdf.

After granting conditional clearance, it has now put on hold the clearance. Following is an excerpt from a report in Hindustan Times:


The Union Environment Ministry on Tuesday put on hold the controversial Rs.150 billion Vedanta University project in Orissa following complaints of alleged irregularities by its promoter Anil Agarwal Foundation. The direction to keep the project in abeyance has come within a month of the Ministry granting conditional environmental clearance to the Foundation which is building the university.

While the environment aspects of a mine is understandable, using environment as an issue to stop a university looks somewhat fishy. Especially, consider the following:

(i) The same Jairam Ramesh and his ministry has this week granted environmental permission to construct the Polavurum dam in Andhra Pradesh against the objections of the Orissa and Chhatisgrah government. See http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Environment-ministry-clears-Andhra-project/articleshow/6233874.cms .

Even Times of India is surprised with this. It wrote: "Oddly, while the ministry had set up separate committees to investigate the settlement of rights under the Forest Rights Act in other high profile cases such as Vedanta and Posco which propose to displace far lesser people, in the Polavaram case the ministry has decided to accept the state government’s compliance report on face value.  The mega-project is expected to submerge 276 villages displacing upwards of two lakh people by some estimates. "

(ii) In the past IIT Madras was built on the land of Guindy National Park. Following is from IIT Madras’s web page at http://www.iitm.ac.in/biodiversity

The IIT Madras Campus was carved out of a natural forest that formed part of the Guindy National Park.

(iii) IIT Bombay is in close proximity to the Sanjay Gandhi national park

Jairam Ramesh’s bias against Orissa was earlier evident when in 2007 when he questioned how an IIT would benefit Orissa. See http://www.orissalinks.com/archives/286 .

I worry that Mr. Ramesh may be scheming to take the 15,000 crore Vedanta University to the south. He is originally from Karantak and is currently a Rajya Sabha MP from Andhra Pradesh. Regardless, losing this would be a great loss for Orissa.

I know oppositions in Orissa have raised many questions about Vedanta University. I have tried to answer their criticisms and questions. See http://www.orissalinks.com/archives/1696

My basic point is that this university with a budget of 15,000 crores out of which 5,000 crore is personal money pledged by Anil Agarwal (who has a net worth of several billion pounds, thus making this believable) can completely change the situation of Orissa and make the Bhubaneswar-Puri area a viable competitor to Bangalore, Pune and Hyderabad in terms of being a knowledge hub. This is a once in a century type of opportunity and letting it go would be foolish for generations to come.

Sorry for being so long, but this is a complex issue and I had to explain the background. We need to do something about this so that Vedanta University is established in Orissa, if not Puri, somewhere else in Orissa is fine too. If we let it go to some other state generations of Oriyas will repent for having lost this opportunity.

What can we do?

To start with please consider sending a version of the following letter (make changes to your liking).



To: pmosb@pmo.nic.in, kapil@kapilsibal.com, kapilsibal@hotmail.com, sam.pitroda@c-sam.com, s.pitroda@nic.in, jairam@sansad.nic.in, jairam@jairam-ramesh.com, secy.dhe@nic.in , skumar-mail@nic.in

Cc: cmo@ori.nic.in, bmahtab@sansad.nic.in, jayarampangi@gmail.com, pyarimohan@yahoo.co.uk, office.bjpanda@gmail.comk.mangala@sansad.nic.in, mohan.jena@sansad.nic.in, rb.pradhan@sansad.nic.in, sushila.tiriya@sansad.nic.in, pyarimohanap@sansad.nic.in

Bcc: ajit.samal@vedanta.co.in, brajakmishra@gmail.com, Itishree.Devi@vedanta.co.in, cv.krishnan@vedanta.edu.in

SUBJECT: Please stop putting hurdles on the Vedanta University project and facilitate its establishment

Dear Esteemed Prime Minister Dr. Singh:

I am very concerned that various bureaucratic hurdles have been put by your environment ministry on the Vedanta University Project (in Puri, Odisha), which is the only current initiative that has a decent chance of becoming the first (and perhaps the only for several decades) world class university of India.

I have no association with Vedanta University except that I would like India and Odisha  to have world class universities and I see the best hope of that happening soon through the establishment of Vedanta University. I am making this clarification of not having any association with Vedanta University because in India many people are afraid of speaking out in favor of industrial houses lest they be branded as being bought out by these houses.

The annual expenditure of typical state university [1] in the USA is 1.785 Billion USD, which comes to  8211 crores of INR at One USD=46 INR rate. Even taking the purchasing power index according to which 1 USD has the purchasing power of Rs 17,  1.785 Billion USD comes to about 3000 crores of INR using the purchasing power parity (PPP) numbers. Among other universities, Harvard with 20,000 students has an expenditure of 3.756 Billion USD [2] which comes to 6385 crores INR using PPP. Stanford’s budget for 18,500 students is 3.65 Billion USD [3].  In comparison, the 2010-11 budget for IISc Bangalore is 221 Crores INR and the total budget for the seven older IITs is 1600 crores.

The only Indian institution that ranks very high (at number 15) in global rankings [4] is the Indian School of Business at Hyderabad. According to a Times of India report [5]: "Indian School of Business (ISB) pays over Rs 20 lakh to its Assistant Professors (APs). Against this, an IIM-Ahmedabad AP gets only Rs 5.5 lakh as starting pay annually."

Based on the above two numbers one can guess estimate that a university in India aspiring to be world class would need to have an annual budget of 1000-1500 crores INR.  I am not sure what budget estimates have been made for the innovation universities. The closest number that I came across was the estimate (in 2008)  of 720 crores [6] over a nine year period.

The Vedanta University as planned has an overall budget of 15,000 crores with 5,000 crores being pledged from personal funds of the Anil Agarwal foundation. So the scale is way beyond what is mentioned with respect to the other institutions and universities in India.

As per [6,7,8,9]  the budget towards making a new IIT is 760 crores,  a new IIM is 210 crores, a central university is 300 crores, a central university with a medical school is 720 crores, an IISER is 500 crores and an AIIMS is 850 crores. These all add up to 3340 crores which is much less than the 5000 crores Mr. Anil Agarwal has pledged to contribute personally (through the Anil Agarwal foundation) towards Vedanta University. In addition the 15,000 crore overall budget and the plan for Vedanta University [10] which includes a township of 500,0000 and research institutes and centers a la Stanford Research Institute suggest a way to get enough income to match the annual expenses needed to operate a truly world class university. Thus when Vedanta University website talks about being world class [10], the numbers seem to add up.

I am not sure if the proposed innovation universities will be able to pay about 4 times the salary that is paid to faculty at IIMs and IITs. That is what ISB Hyderabad, the only globally top ranked institute is paying. That is what Vedanta University with its planned budget could possibly pay.

Under the above circumstances, Vedanta University seems to me as having the best chance to be India’s first comprehensive world class university.

While the honorable HRD Minister has been visiting around the world to get help in establishing innovation universities, does it make sense to create unreasonable hurdles (as the environment ministry seems to be doing) to the only one foundation that seems to have a real plan [10] and that has pledged money to back up that plan to create a truly world class university.

India’s laws and its constitution are sacrosanct. But as everyone knows one can use laws to create hurdles and one can also facilitate the establishment of one of a kind potentially real world class university while making sure that those laws are in compliance. It is my sincere opinion that the environment ministry is creating hurdles instead of  just making sure that the laws are followed. Also, it is unfortunate that the HRD ministry has not taken notice of Vedanta
University and has not facilitated the creation of this potentially world class university. Please note that, as per [11] "the IIT Madras Campus was carved out of a natural forest that formed part of the Guindy National Park."

In any western country a foundation with a $1 Billion donation towards a new university would have been given red carpet treatment. In India, the HRD ministry does not even notice it and the Environment ministry is bordering on harassing the project. No wonder we do not have any world class university yet.

I know that there are various people and organizations that are opposed to the Vedanta University. Many of them because they have issues with the Vedanta company. Also, most of them do not have a grasp of what a world-class university is, and some with political objectives have even floated malicious rumors. Many of those objections have been addressed in great length at http://www.orissalinks.com/archives/1696.

I sincerely request that you urgently have a meeting with the HRD ministry, the environment ministry and the government of Orissa and facilitate the establishment of Vedanta University  with full compliance of the laws of the land. In addition, please help Vedanta University to immediately start graduate programs in 2-3 areas of need while the various issues are expediently sorted out with your help.

Finally, Vedanta University was in the process of constructing the buildings for a top-notch medical school which would have been part of it. The environment ministry has stopped that. How much sense does it make to stop construction of a medical school in a state (Orissa) that lacks adequate medical facilities and that is at the bottom of many health parameters? 

Please allow the medical school construction to resume at the earliest as by stopping the construction of a medical school, your environment ministry is playing with lives.

[1] http://budget.asu.edu/all-funds-budget-0
[2] http://www.provost.harvard.edu/institutional_research/Provost_-_Harvard_Fact_Book_2009-10_FINAL.pdf
[3] http://www.stanford.edu/dept/businessaffairs/cgi-bin/downloadpdf_v3.php?file=BudBk_2010-11_sec1.pdf
[4] http://rankings.ft.com/businessschoolrankings/indian-school-of-business
[5] http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/news/city/ahmedabad/IIM-A-dons-want-Harvard-like-status/articleshow/4974404.cms
[6] http://pib.nic.in/release/release.asp?relid=37684
[7] http://pib.nic.in/release/release.asp?relid=12975
[8] http://www.financialexpress.com/news/aiims-to-start-functioning-in-jodhpur-in-23-yrs-azad/517370/
[9] http://pib.nic.in/release/release.asp?relid=29814
[10] http://vedanta.edu.in/
[11] http://www.iitm.ac.in/biodiversity


13 comments July 31st, 2010

What really happened at Silicon Institute of Technology in Bhubaneswar on Thursday night?

Update: Apparently a student’s version is at http://whackedoutbrain.blogspot.com/2010/04/neglected-by-college-raped-by-media.html.

We have no way of verifying if the poster is a Silicon student or not. His account seems believable and the comments there suggests that other students agree with the poster.

In recent years, especially after KIIT and ITER became deemed universities, Silicon Institute of Technology in Bhubaneswar has been the top choice of students among the private engineering colleges of Odisha. 

On Thursday night 22nd of April a student of Silicon died. This incident resulted in a conflict between Silicon authorities and the media and there are multiple versions of the story.

The media versions of the story can be read in:

On the other hand the Orissa Private Engineering College Association has put the advertisement given below in various newspapers. I do not know who to believe. I hope some of the students who were present during the event can shed light on what really happened.

16 comments April 24th, 2010

Compiling the list of private state universities in India: work in progress

(Request to readers: If you know of private state universities not listed below and not in the UGC list mentioned below, please add a link in the comment. We will update this page.)

In this page we will collect information regarding private state universities in India. By private state universities we mean privately managed universities that are establish by an act in the assembly of various states of India. These are different from the deemed universities.

The list at UGC date June 2009 is at http://www.ugc.ac.in/notices/updatedpriuniver.pdf. We also listed them at http://www.orissalinks.com/archives/2782. My guess is that these private universities which have been created by state acts have UGC approval. We have come across many other private universities which have been created by state acts which are not in this list; some of them were created by state acts after June 2009.

We start with Odisha: Odisha has passed state acts for two private universities:

  • Vedanta University
  • Sri Sri University

Odisha has introduced an act for ICFAI university. It has been discussed and tabled in the assembly. As of writing this, It is yet to be passed by the Odisha assembly.

Chhatisgarh: The UGC list of June 2009 lists two private universities. (i) CV Raman in Bilaspur and (ii) MATS in Raipur

Gujarat: .The UGC list of June 2009 lists five private universities. (i) DAIICT Gandhinagar (ii) Ganpat, Mehsana (iii) Kadi Sarva, Gandhinagar (iv) Nirma, Ahmedabad (v) Pandit Deendayal Petroleum U, Gandhinagar

Himachal Pradesh: It passed an umbrella private university act in 2006. The UGC list of June 2009 lists two private universities. (i) Chitkara University, Solan (ii) Jaypee, Solan. Besides them following are some new ones.


  • ICFAI University

Karnataka: The UGC list of June 2009 does not have any university from Karnataka. However, since then the following has been passed.

Madhya Pradesh: It passed an umbrella private university act in 2007.

Maharashtra: From a TOI report.

Maharashtra has also revived the plan to bring private universities into the state. Tope said that plans were afoot to help the corporate sector play a key role in the field of education. The Private University Act is being finalised in this connection, he pointed out.

Meghalaya: The UGC list of June 2009 lists two private universities. (i) Martin Luther Christian (ii) Techno Global.

Mizoram: The UGC list of June 2009 lists one private university. (i) ICFAI

Nagaland: The UGC list of June 2009 lists one private university. (i) Global Open

Punjab: The UGC list of June 2009 lists one private university. (i) Lovely Professional U.

Rajasthan: It has an umbrella private university act (enacted in 2005) to facilitate creation of private universities. There are 11 private state universities in Rajasthan in the UGC list of June 2009. (i) Bhagwant University,  Ajmer (ii)  Jagannath University, Jaipur (iii) Jaipur National University, Jaipur. (iv) Jyoti Vidyapeeth Women’s University, Jaipur. (v)  Mewar University, Chittorgarh. (vi)
NIMS University, Jaipur. (vii) Sir Padmapat Singhania University, Jhunjhunu. (viii) Singhania University, Jhunjunu. (ix) Suresh Gyan Vihar University, Jaipur.  (x) Jodhpur National University, Jodhpur  (xi) Amity University, Jaipur

Beyond those 11, some of the new ones not in that list are:

Sikkim: The UGC list of June 2009 lists two private universities.(i) Eastern Institute for Integrated Learning in Management University, Jorethang. (ii) Sikkim- Manipal University of Health, Medical & Technological Sciences, Gangtok.

Tripura: The UGC list of June 2009 lists one private university. (i) ICFAI

UP: The UGC list of June 2009 lists eight private universities.(i) Amity University, NOIDA (ii) Integral University, Lucknow. (iii) Jagadguru Rambhadracharya Handicapped University, Chitrakoot Dham. (iv) Mangalayatan University, Aligarh (v) Mohammad Ali Jauhar University, Rampur. (vi) Sharda University, Gautam Budh Nagar. (vii) Swami Vivekanand Subharti University, Meerut. (viii)
Teerthanker Mahaveer Univesity, Moradabad.

Uttarakhand: The UGC list of June 2009 lists six private universities.(i) Dev Sanskrit Vishwavidyalaya, Haridwar. (ii) Doon University, Dehradoon. (iii) Himgiri Nabh Vishwavidyalaya, Dehradun. (iv) ICFAI Dehradun (v) University of Petroleum and Energy Studies, Dehradun. (vi)  University of Patanjali, Haridwar.

West Bengal: The UGC list of June 2009does not have any from West Bengal. However, the following has been passed by West Bengal assembly since then.

  • Dhirubhai Ambani Institute of Information and Communication Technology, Kalyani

In regards to umbrella private university bills, as per http://www.academics-india.com/SC%20judgement.htm the Supreme court in

Prof. Yashpal & Anr. Vs. State of Chhattisgarh & Ors.
Coram: CJI ,G. P. Mathur , P.K. Balasubramanyan 11/ 02/ 2005
CASE NO.: Writ Petition (civil) 19 of 2004
PETITIONER: Prof. Yashpal & Anr.
RESPONDENT:State of Chhattisgarh & Ors.
DATE OF JUDGMENT: 11/02/2005
BENCH:CJI,G. P. Mathur & P.K. Balasubramanyan

has reiterated (see point 36) UGC rules that say:

3.1 Each private University shall be established by a separate State Act and shall conform to the relevant provisions of the UGC Act, 1956, as amended from time to time.

3.2 A private university shall be a unitary university having adequate facilities for teaching, research, examination and extension services.


The following table summarizes the private and deemed universities in various states of India. The data regarding deemed universities is from http://pib.nic.in/release/release.asp?relid=50713. Since the HRD minister Mr. Sibal has said that the deemed university system will vanish, most of the private deemed universities will become private state universities.


State #  private universities in June 2009 # deemed universities # private universities in pipeline that we know of (work in progress) Total
Andhra Pradesh 0 7   7
Arunachal Pradesh 0 1   1
Bihar 0 2   2
Chhatisgarh 2 0   2
Gujarat 2 5   7
Haryana 0 5   5
Himachal Pradesh 2 0 5 7
Jharkhand   2  1 3
Karnataka   15 1 16
Kerala   2   2
Madhya Pradesh  1 3   4
Maharashtra   21   21
Meghalaya 2     2
Mizoram 1     1
Nagaland 1     1
Orissa   2 3 5
Pondicherry   2   2
Punjab 1 3   4
Rajasthan 11 8 4 23
Sikkim 2     2
Tamil Nadu   29   29
Tripura 2     2
Uttarkhand 6 4   10
Uttar Pradesh 8 10   18
West Bengal   1 1 2
Delhi   11   11


12 comments April 10th, 2010

NIT Rourkela: Orissa’s top nationally ranked academic institution and Rourkela’s shining jewel

I was going through NIT Rourkela’s website. Although it has been always ranked pretty high (good research ranking, high ranking by India Today) among engineering colleges in India, over the last few years it is turning into a comprehensive university with new departments and programs. Prof. Sunil Sarangi has done wonders since he has arrived as the director of NIT Rourkela. Following are some of the highlights of the unique programs, new programs and new departments.

Note: Among the above departments, the Applied Mathematics, Chemistry and Physics departments are not new but I think the M.Sc programs are new; I could not find when exactly they were started.

As one can notice from the above, one can do degrees in Molecular Biology or Humanities at NIT Rourkela. Soon one can pursue an MBA. This is really wonderful and kudos to Prof. Sarangi for making this happen.

In August this year when I met Prof. Sarangi in Orissa I broached the topic of having a medical college at NIT Rourkela. He was not opposed to the idea, but was worried that with only 1-2 years left in his tenure at NIT Rourkela, he would not be able to make it happen in that short time. I hope a way is found so that Prof. Sarangi stays for another 5 year term at NIT Rourkela. I am told every one likes him and respects him at NIT Rourkela. We should  write him and thank him for all that he has done for NIT Rourkela, request him to stay longer in Rourkela and we should do something (perhaps write to CMO and MHRD) to give him another 5 year term. We should request Prof. Sarangi to start a medical college at NIT Rourkela. His parent institution, IIT Khragpur is starting one in Kharagpur, so if he is given time, he will be able to do it. Another program that NIT Rourkela should be encouraged  to establish is "Architecture and Town Planning".  (In this regard, NIT Warangal leads the pack of NITs in planning for a medical school and a law school.)

For our readers with Rourkela connection please spread the word about the availability of science, business and humanities programs at NIT Rourkela so that good students and faculty join these programs. Also, some of you students, go and pursue higher degrees (PhD) and come back and join NIT Rourkela and to the others become an entrepreneur and open companies in Rourkela. 

Another good thing about all of these is that with the new VC at VSSUT Burla, who is also from IIT Khragapur and a good friend of Prof. Sarangi , a similar transformation can be expected at VSSUT Burla. Already, a new department of Humanities is being made at VSSUT Burla. VSSUT Burla has advertised for new faculty positions and its VC has mentioned some of his new plans. In an interview to TOI he is reported to have said: 

Our priority will be to make the institution as one of the best of the country and for this we are planning to introduce few new branches of engineering courses. Textile engineering is one among them which will help to strengthen the development of the Sambalpuri fabric. We also plan to introduce Nano-science technology, Bio-medical engineering and surgical engineering soon”, the vice chancellor Dr Tripathy told.

6 comments December 19th, 2009

Proposed expansion of the university system in Orissa: feedback requested

After studying the university systems in major states of US and taking into account various feedback received my latest thoughts on the expansion of the university system in Orissa is at http://www.orissa2020.org/proposed-university-system-of-orissa. The highlight of the proposal is as follows:

  1. Two new regional universities: Western Orissa University Bhawanipatna and Central Orissa University Angul
  2. One new general unitary university: Rourkela University
  3. One new Metropolitan University: Bhubaneswar Metropolitan University
  4. Upgrading of two colleges to new unitary universities: GM and Khallikote
  5. Five new specialized Universities: Tribal University (HQ Phulbani), Sports University (HQ Rourkela), Skill University (HQ-TBD), Health University (HQ-TBD), Education University (HQ-TBD)
  6. Several new branch campuses of existing universities to reduce affiliation load on existing universities with a clear path on how they can become independent universities. Each branch campus will have enough independence to chart its own course. Special attention paid to branch campuses at Balangir, Phulbani and Keonjhar.
  7. A clear road map for development of comprehensive western style universities that have multiple disciplines, including engineering and medical colleges.

I would appreciate any feedback on this. Please read the details at the above mentioned site.

23 comments December 15th, 2009

Learning from NIRTAR’s history

I was intrigued by the history of NIRTAR. I think one can take some lessons from it. Following is an excerpt from its history page:

During the visit of the then Hon’ble Prime Minister Mrs. Indira Gandhi to Orissa in 1975, Mrs. Nandini Satpathy the then Chief Minister of Orissa informed the PM that there was 16.5 acres of land with few buildings donated by late Shri Bijayram Mishra to Govt. of Orissa was available in the village, Olatpur of Cuttack District at 35 kms. from Cuttack/Bhubaneswar in a rural area which could be considered for the establishment of the Institute.

In the US communities or rich individual land holders have donated land for specific educational purposes to the government. One shining example is the University of California at Irvine. Following is an excerpt from the wikipedia entry on UC Irvine.

Unlike other University of California campuses, UCI was not named for the city it was built in; at the time of the university’s founding (1965), the current city of Irvine (established in 1975) did not exist. The name "Irvine" is a reference to James Irvine, a landowner who administered the 94,000-acre (38,000 ha) Irvine Ranch. In 1960, The Irvine Company sold 1,000 acres (400 ha) of the Irvine Ranch to the University of California for one dollar, since a company policy prohibited the donation of property to a public entity.

The NIRTAR example suggest that this may also work in the Orissa context.

  • What if a group of people (say in Kalahandi) pool together 100 acres of land  and donate it to the Central University of Orissa Koraput for establishing a branch there. (They can be smart in their pooling so that they also have similar or more land adjacent to the donated land; that way they will benefit via the increase in their land prices when the university opens a branch there.)
  • How about people in Berhampur taking a similar step with respect to IIT Bhubaneswar?
  • If people of Rourkela were to pool together 50 acres and approach XIM, I am positive XIM will be happy to open a branch there. Now lets consider something smaller.
  • The central government has proposed establishment of model colleges in some backward districts of Orissa. In those districts there are many smaller towns who would like those colleges to be located in their town. I think if a particular town’s people pool together 20-30 acres and offer it to the government for the model college then the chances of that town getting  the college will become much higher.  

In general, land is a big deal in Orissa and India and pooling together some acres and donating it to a reputable organization for a specific purpose has a high chance of achieving that purpose in a shorter time.

The point of mentioning the above is that while the government does have responsibility of doing things and helping in balanced development, at times people need to take proactive steps beyond demonstrations and demands. There are too many areas in Orissa that are crying for development and the areas where people take proactive steps on their own are going to be more successful than the others.

2 comments December 14th, 2009

ESIC Medical college in Rourkela; latest news

Update: Various trade unions and local organizations in Rourkela have signed a joint memorandum. The details are at:  http://www.odiasamaja.org/esic-medical-college-trade-unions-variour-organizations-support/

Following is an excerpt from a report in Pioneer.

Hundreds of e-mails reached the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) urging him to impress upon the Employees’ State Insurance Corporation (ESIC) for establishment of the college and hospital in the steel city. The Prime Minister and the Union Minister for Labour were flooded with mails and memorandums. Bur it seems nobody in the Government is bothered about the hue and cry raised by the people from various sections of the society.

“If there is any place fit for an ESIC Medical College & Hospital, it is Rourkela,” said a top Orissa Government official. Then how come the Government is silent over the demand and has allowed the ESIC to set up the college and hospital in Bhubaneswar? “You better ask the Chief Minister,” said the officer on the condition of anonymity. Now, as the ESIC has been allotted land on the outskirts of the capital city, chances of Rourkela seem remote, admitted the official.

Interestingly, when the people of Rourkela joined the bandwagon for demanding the medical college and hospital in the steel city, local MLA Sarada Prasad Nayak, who is the Minister for Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Welfare remained silent. Similarly, Minister for Labour and Employment Puspendra Singh Deo, who also hails from Western Orissa, quietly favoured the college to come up in Bhubaneswar.

The ESIC will spend Rs 600 crore for the medical college and hospital, a dental college and a nursing college in the same campus, said sources. Officials point out that as there is no full-fledged airport near Rourkela, the Centre will not agree to setting up of a medical college there.

The mention about Rourkela not having airport and hence center may not agree is bogus. I don’t see any connection betweem an airport and an ESIC medical college. Indeed two other locations where ESIC medical colleges are being established do not have a nearby airport either. They are Gulbarga, Karnataka and Alwar, Rajasthan. (Thanks to Prashant babu for pointing to  the second one.)

5 comments October 5th, 2009

Orissalinks and all around development of HRD infrastructure in Orissa

In light of some comments in Orissalinks and several efforts that are going around in the Cyberspace, I would like to give a bit of history of Orissalinks that would make our stand clear in terms of promoting all around development of HRD infrastructure in Orissa.

We had several blogs that are precursor to Orissalinks.com. The first two were:

  • http://iiser.blogspot.com/  started October 2005: This was about getting NIS to Bhubaneswar which was earlier announced in 2003 by the President of India and HRD minister of India but was omitted when IISERs were proposed.
  • http://kbkcentral.blogspot.com/  started October 2005: This was about getting a central university to KBK.

Couple of the blogs after that were:

  • http://newiits.blogspot.com/  started December 2005: At that time there were plans to upgrade some existing institutions to an IIT or existing IITs opening branches in other locations.  We pursued both.
  • http://iits-11thplan.blogspot.com/ started January 2007: After the first three new IITs were announced and Orissa was left out this was to push for an IIT in Orissa.

With the help of Prashant Sahoo, we started this consolidated blog orissalinks.com in Novermber 2006. The first postings of this blog was about KBK Central University. See http://www.orissalinks.com/archives/date/2006/11.

We have been fortunate that the goals of our initial efforts were achieved and we now have NISER, an IIT and a Central University in Orissa.

There were other achievements including helping the UCE Burla students and alumni in their efforts to make UCE Burla an unitary university.  The idea was mooted in this blog in October 2007 (see http://www.orissalinks.com/archives/693) and later support was provided by email. See their acknowledgement in their souvenir.

While a lot of our initial focus had been about getting Orissa its fair share, dealing with inequality within Orissa was also a concern from the very beginning. Although we did not frame it in the terms of "inequity within Orissa" our initial postings on KBK University and the kbkcentral blog were about addressing the lack of opportunities in the KBK districts.We continue with several other efforts such as making VSSUT, Burla an IIEST, having a branch of IGNTU in Kandhamal and getting an ESIC medical college to Rourkela.

We also wrote specifically about inequality within Orissa. One of our early post was in April 2007. See http://www.orissalinks.com/archives/100. Since then we have raised this several times and will continue to do so.

But we would like it to be done, at least in this forum, in a respectful way and avoiding divisiveness. I also think that is the most effective way.

Following are some of my suggestions:

  1. We should not show any hatred towards any region of Orissa. (Sometimes one may not mean that, but the words imply that.) While it is ok to point out that some area, say the Bhubaneswar area, has too many of something as compared to the rest of the state, it is really not helpful to say something like since X will be in the Bhubaneswar area, I would rather not have it in Orissa at all.
  2. We should not use divisive terminologies.
  3. Personally I think it is usually better to argue for certain amenities and infrastructure elements in particular metropolitan areas rather than whole regions especially when there are divisive stereotypes about those regional distinctions.
  4. As described in http://orissa2020.org (in particular http://www.orissa2020.org/home/area-wise-plan ) I think we can initially focus on five tier 2 regions (Rourkela area, Berhampur area, Baragarh-Sambalpur-Jharsuguda area, Balasore-Baripada area and Koraput-Jeypore-Sunabeda area) and five trier 3 A regions (Bhawanipatna, Balangir, Phulbani, Angul and Keonjhar). See the above links for the reasoning behind why these ten are our first choice. Specific mailing lists or yahoo groups on each of them would be useful in interfacing cybercitizens with people phyiscally located in those areas. This will allow organization of some ground level teams and actions when needed.
  5. While looking out for our own backyard is important, it is more effective if one does not only focus on their own backyard or one is not too obsessed on their own backyard.
  6. It is more effective to argue for a location of an institute, when another location for it has not been announced. It creates divisiveness when one suggests or campaigns that institute X announced for location L should be moved to location M. A better alternative in that case is to say that a branch of X or something like X should also be in M. That is what we used when campaigning for NIS in Bhubaneswar. We never said that the IISER in Kolkata should be moved to Bhubaneswar. We said that we are happy that Kolkata gets an IISER but we would like Bhubaneswar to have an NIS or an IISER. That way the campaign does not pit people in favor of L against the people in favor of M. The more unified an effort is the better its chances of success. Especially, if one makes enemies or treats others as enemies then it works against their goals. The intelligent and effective approach is to convert others to support or even pursue your goals and not make enemies.
  7. On the other hand if X is announced for location L and someone from L says that I am from L but I think for these reasons the institute X  should be in M, then that is the right spirit. That is what is happening in the ESIC medical college in Rourkela effort.
  8. There will be cases when several areas are under consideration for a single exclusive institute. At that time we should keep the debate about the location civil and logic based. In such debates people arguing for their own backyard is expected and reasonable, but one must keep in mind that it automatically decreases their credibility in the eyes of the others.

In summary, if we work unitedly for all of Orissa and respect some ground rules (such as the ones above), the chances of success are much higher.

13 comments September 8th, 2009

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