FAQ on Vedanta University (in Odia) – scanned from a booklet that was circulated in Puri

Add comment September 14th, 2010

Vedanta University links categorized to various topics

To make it easier to find various information regarding Vedanta University I have categorized various articles/reports on them. Hope this will be useful in seeing the real value of Vedanta University and convincing people of Odisha that we must thwart the BJP and Congress efforts to take Vedanta University to Karnataka and Andhra respectively.

  1. Must see youtube video on the story of Vedanta University.

  1. Vedanta University Home Page
  2. Initial blog to watch the progress of Vedanta University
  3. Petitions to thwart attempts to take Vedanta University away from Odisha
    1. Petition to the Honorable Governor of Orissa to give assent to the Vedanta University bill passed by Orissa assembly in July 2009 (more than a year back)
    2. Petition to the CM to seek the PM’s help regarding Vedanta University
    3. Petition to Delhi to stop putting hurdles on the Vedanta University project and to facilitate its establishment
  4. Categorizing the articles on Vedanta University in this blog
    1. Accolades for its campus master plan
    2. Ads
    3. Anil Agarwal
    4. Appeal to Anil Agarwal
    5. Architects and Construction Contracts
    6. Beyond the Puri main campus
    7. BJP attempt to steal it to Karnataka
      1. Orissa BJP opposes Karnataka BJP lures
    8. Congress attempt to steal it to Andhra
      1. Andhra Science City plan: They have had plans like the Vedanta University township for a long time. So they are doing their best to take Vedanta University from Odisha.
      2. Congress ruled Andhra’s overture
      3. Environment minister Jairam Ramesh, Congress MP from Andhra, creates hurdles
      4. Orissa Congress opposes Andhra Congress lures
    9. CSR in Puri
    10. Honorable Odisha governor (a former member of Congress) has not signed the Vedanta University bill which was passed in July 2009
    11. International media coverage
    12. Land Acquisition and Land Use (Why so much land?)
    13. Medical College progress
    14. Pictures, master plan layouts, Videos
    15. Provisions for Orissa students
    16. Rally, petitions and articles in its support
    17. Rebuttals to opposition arguments and unsubstantiated rumours
    18. Slowing brain drain
    19. Vedanta University Bill
    20. What does $1 Billion buy? What is once in a century opportunity?

3 comments September 13th, 2010

Vedanta University Project sets record stratight against unsubstantiated rumors

Following is from a report in Daily Pioneer.

The State Government has allotted 6,000 acres of land, and not 8,000 acres as reported in a section of the media, to the Anil Agarwal Foundation to establish its world-class Vedanta University near the Puri-Konark marine drive.

The land would be used only for the purposes of the university as per the terms of the Government, said a project release on Monday.

The release said the Anil Agarwal Foundation is acquiring land at full market value, well beyond the Government’s land acquisition norms in terms of compensation, ex-gratia payment, rehabilitation and other facilities to the landowners.

Out of the 6,000 acres earmarked for the university, only 1,300 acres constitute the land owned by Lord Jagannath.

The temple trust has agreed to sell the land for the educational mission and the foundation is acquiring it at full and fair market value.

The release claimed that world-class universities like Stanford, Duke and Harvard have land areas of 8,180 acres, 7,200 acres and 4,940 acres, respectively. Vedanta University, 6,000 acres, would be unique with 100,000 students, 10,000 faculty and 95 academic disciplines.

Vedanta would have no control over any land near or far from its site. The Puri-Konark Development Authority and the district administration would make all decisions regarding future developments in the area.

Following are some excerpts from a tathya.in report.

The University will have its own water harvesting and recycling system and there will be no adverse impact on the availability of water for the people of Puri.

… World Class Vedanta University will put Orissa on the global education map and will further enhance the cultural significance of Puri and Konark.

It will provide continuing employment opportunity for several thousands of people in the area.

Vedanta University Project(VUP) has already undertaken many developmental programs in the areas of health, education, livelihood and peripheral development which are greatly appreciated by the local people.

Add comment December 9th, 2008

Sambada on Vedanta University and not messing up an opportunity that may not come again in 100-200 years

Thank you Sambada.

Following is a translation of the initial part of the article:

Today in the state assembly two private university bills will be discussed; Sri Sri University bill and Vedanta University bill. Orisssa’s higher education future rests on these two bills. In regards to the first university bill, so far, there has not been any controversy, but for whatever reason the proposed Vendanta University is embroiled in controversies. Opposition to land acquisition for the project, court entanglement, reports in police station, and similar issues have tied down the project. For two years there has not been much progress in the ground. The situation is such that like the Singur Nano project in West Bengal there is apprehension that this world class project may withdraw from Orissa. If that happens Orissa’s dream of being a top higher education location in the world will be shattered. In the past several assembly members have opposed the Vedanta University project. The reason for their opposition! Doubt. There is opposition to the land acquisition in the proposed project area. Few days back there was a struggle in that area. The reason for that was also doubts. May be Vedanta will withdraw from the university project after acquiring the land; May be the people will lose their livelihood; May be Vedanta will renege on its obligations; several such doubts are fueling the opposition. The opposers say that Vedanta plans to loot Orissa in the name of the university. But what is the basis of these doubts and it is not clear how does one loot by establishing a university. This project does not need mines or forests; the government does not need to spend a paisa. It only needs to help in providing land where 15000 crores is aimed to be invested to establish a world class university. Eminent educationalists says that such opportunities come once in 100 or 200 years. If such small issues are used to throw away this opportunity then Orissa’s higher education aim for the next century will definitely become unsure. In reality, states like Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka are eying the Vedanta University project. The land acquisition problem in Orissa has resulted in Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh sending proposals to Vedanta. But planning and design of the project has progressed so far that Vedanta does not want to leave Orissa. Vedanta Chief Anil Agarwal has given $1 Billion (Rs 5000 crores) of his own money to the project and has mentioned this to the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. The main built-up area of the university will be spread across 2000 acres. The Ayres St. Gross company of the US has designed the master plan of this university. This company has developed the building design for many top universities of the world. Vedanta has decided to establish a medical college and hospital in the first phase.  This college and hospital to be built in 34 acres has been designed by the world famous firm  Perkins and Will. The medical college program will be designed and its equipments will be supplied by Jensen partners. The curriculum of the various colleges of the university and the kind of faculty to hire for such programs have been discussed in conferences organized by Vedanta in Paris and Washington. After all these to doubt that Vedanta will cheat and go away is baseless. Eminent NRO professor CRB says that losing Vedanta will be like kicking a humongous wealth. With IIT, NISER and AIIMS being established Bhubaneswar, if Vedanta University is established it will make the Puri-Bhubaneswar-Cuttack area an heaven for high quality higher education and Orissa’s place in the world will rise significantly. No other industrialist in Orissa has spent that much money on education. If Vedanta wants to spend 15000 crores, why should we throw it away? The top educational institutions in India, the IITs and the IIMs rank 300-400 in the world. Vedanta aims to be in the top 50. He says, if that happnes Orissa will be among the tops in the country. The government should take meausers to resolve the issues related to land acquisition in a war footing. For such a university the sacrifice of the local people should be adequately respected and compensated by the government, he adds.

7 comments December 6th, 2008

My perspective on Vedanta University

I have been watching and collecting various reports on Vedanta University since an MOU was signed about it with the Orissa government. (See my collection here and here and also Vedanta University’s web page.)

After reading about the forced stoppage of the initiation of the building of Vedanta University, I thought I would write about my perspective on Vedanta University.

May I request you to bear with me on my thoughts on Vedanta University and read till the end of this document, even if you partly or fully disagree with me.

I think Vedanta University is a unique opportunity for Orissa and if we mess it up we will regret for ever and our future generation will not forgive us for this.

 
Why do I say that?

First I would urge you to watch the following two short videos and an audio interview available in the web:

 
 I know many of you have a lot of concerns and red flags about this endeavor and some of these concerns have been expressed in various Orissa newspapers. Let me try to address some of them based on my knowledge.

 Q 1: If many top universities are built on much less land, such as Harvard University, which is built only on 380 acres, why does Vedanta University need so much land. (It has now come down from 8000 acres to 6270 acres, but that is still quite large. 6270 acres is 25.374 sq km)

 Answer 1: Let us look at the layout below.

 The whole thing is 8000 acres. With the airport part gone it is 6270 acres. The ellipse like main university  (see picture below) part looks to be about 2000 acres and comparable to the size of IIT Kharagpur which is of 2100 acres but has only 6625 students . Note that IIT Bhubaneswar is being given 890 acres. So Vedanta University’s 2000 acres for 100,000 students is a very good use of land. Please watch the youtube video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u3B7L1S_MAY&fmt8 to get an idea how the buildings are proposed to be quite close to each other with very creative landscaping.

 Note that Harvard University with 380 acres supports 19,955 students. So Vedanta University proposing 5 times Harvard’s land for 5 times Harvard’s acreage is not unreasonable.

 Q 2: So if the main part of the Vedanta university is only about 2000 acres, what happens to the remaining 6270-2000= 4270 acres.

Answer 2: As is evident from the picture in the previous page there are 8 townships planned for those.

Q 3: If only 2000 acres goes to the university and 4270 acres goes to the townships, why not just focus on the university and ignore the township?

Answer 3: The townships are very important for making Vedanta University a top university at the level of Stanford and Harvard. Following is the reasoning behind it.

From Harvard University book at http://www.provost.harvard.edu/institutional_research/factbook.php ,

its income and expenses are as follows:

Income (2006-07): 3.21 Billion USD

Expenses (2006-07): 3.17 Billion USD

Total Endowment (June 30, 2007): 34.912 Billion USD

From Stanford University annual report at

http://www.stanford.edu/dept/businessaffairs/cgi-bin/downloadpdf_v3.php?file=AnnualReport_2007.pdf

its income and expenses for 2006-07 are as follows.

Income (2006-07): 3.2 Billion

Expenses (2006-07): 2.9 Billion USD

Total endowment (Aug 31, 2007): 17.2 Billion USD

In India the operating expenses for IISc Bangalore, the maximum among the IITs and IISc, in the last budget (item 41 of the Higher education budget) is 130 (plan) + 91 (non-plan) = Rs 221 crores. Rs 70 crore of that is for enhancing the number of students to account for the OBC quota.

For operating Vedanta University at the world class level a lot of money will be required. My guess would be that it will be somewhere in between the expenses at Harvard-Stanford ($2.9-$3.17 Billion = about Rs 15,000 crores) and at IISc Bangalore (221 crores). A good guess is that it will be around Rs 1000-1500 crores.

Mr. Agarwal has only pledged 1 Billion USD and most of it will go into just construction. The student tuition fees will not be enough to cover the Rs 1000-1500 crores needed to run the university.

In case of Harvard only 20% comes from student tuition and the student tuition mostly ranges from 30,000 USD/year to 40,000 USD/year. (This is Rs. 15 lakh/year – Rs. 20 lakh/year)

Vedanta University will not be able to charge that outside of medical students.

So there has to be other sources of money beyond the student tuition.

Since Vedanta University does not have an endowment, where will the additional money come from?

My guess is that it will come from the townships in the remaining 4270 acres.

Thus, I consider the townships to be crucial in achieving the dream of making Vedanta University a top world class university. (However we need to make sure that the money earned from the townships is put into an endowment for Vedanta University.) 

If there was no township, I would be very suspicious of Vedanta University’s claim that it will be a top world class university, as then it is not clear where the money would come from. (In this regard one must note that the best private institute in India, BITS Pilani, is nowhere in the world rankings. For that matter the IITs are quite low in the world rankings. What Vedanta University is aspiring is way above any existing institute in India and the existing financial model in private institutes such as BITS Pilani will not achieve what Vedanta University is aiming for.)

Q 4: So you are saying township is a crucial aspect of Vedanta University and 4270 acres goes towards that and only 2000 acres goes towards Vedanta University. Why do not then the Vedanta University officials make the township part clear?
 
Answer 4: They have.

If one goes to their web page they clearly say: "The campus will be developed in a phased manner to nurture a vibrant university township with a population of more than 500,000."

Q 5: Is there a top university which is similar to Vedanta University + associated townships in terms of land requirements.

Answer 5: Yes. Stanford University is made of 8180 acres (33.1 sq km) and does host a research park and other developments (including a mall), but not all of the land is currently built up though.

Other universities with large acreage include University of Michigan (20,965 acres), Texas A & M University (5,200 acres), and Ohio State University (15,893 acres).

Q 6: Is Vedanta University’s goal of 100,000 students reasonable.

Answer 6: Following are some large universities in the USA and their student size in Autumn 2007 as obtained from http://www.osu.edu/osutoday/stuinfo.php#enroll_large .

 
 
Student size
Times rank
SJT Rank
The Ohio State University

52,568                

121
62
Arizona State University, Main Campus
51,481
260
93
University of Minnesota, Twin Cities
50,833
87
28
University of Florida
50,576
165
58
University of Texas, Austin
50,201
70
39
Texas A&M University, College Station
46,542
137
88
Michigan State University
46,045
203
83
Penn State University
43,232
105
42
University of Wisconsin, Madison
42,041
55
17
University of Illinois, Urbana
41,135
71
26
 

They are all pretty good universities, all of them ranked in the top 100 in the SJT ranking.

Q 7: How do we know that the University is not a ruse and Mr. Agarwal just wants the land?

Answer 7: Mr. Agarwal’s net worth in early 2008 was $6 Billion.(see http://www.forbes.com/lists/2008/10/billionaires08_Anil-Agarwal_WDNS.html )

 

His net worth in 2006 was $2.8 Billion. (see http://www.forbes.com/lists/2006/10/WDNS.html )

Now what is the most important asset of a rich man? His reputation in the eye of the world.

Mr. Agarwal has told the whole world about his university.

Articles praising his pledge to donate $1 Billion towards Vedanta University have appeared in major national and international venues such as:

Time, USA –  http://www.time.com/time/specials/2007/time100powergivers/article/0,28804,1616375_1615711_1615671,00.html

Economist – http://www.economist.com/people/displaystory.cfm?story_id=9539815

Independent, UK – http://news.independent.co.uk/education/higher/article3045374.ece

Forbes, USA – http://www.forbes.com/lists/2008/10/billionaires08_Anil-Agarwal_WDNS.html

Forbes Asia – http://www.forbes.com/lists/2008/56/biz_philanthropy08_Anil- Agarwal_WDNS.html

PBS TV USA – http://www.charlierose.com/guests/anil-agarwal

He has met the Prime Minister of India and told him about his pledge to donate $1 Billion for the university.

I do not believe that after so much publicity Mr. Agarwal will back out, as he will lose face and that is the most important thing for a person of his net worth. (It should be noted that many billionaires, especially in the US, do make huge donations. Bill Gates donation of tens of billions USD and Warren Buffet’s donation of about $30 Billion are exemplars. In higher education, Leland Stanford established Stanford University and Andrew Carnegie established Carnegie Mellon University; both top universities now. )

However, if the current opposition continues, it is very much possible that at some point Mr. Agarwal may get fed up with the hurdles created by some people of Orissa and will move Vedanta University to a state (such as Gujarat, Andhra or Karnataka) where he will be welcomed.

Q 8: How come Gujarat, Andhra and Karnataka did not woo him earlier.

Answer 8: I do not know why. May be at that time they did not take him seriously and Orissa did. But now after the design of the university and lot of other groundwork has been done, they will woo him like anything.

In my opinion, Orissa lucked out that it signed the MOU in 2006. It also helped that Mr. Agarwal has other business in Orissa. But then many other companies, private and public have business in Orissa. How much have they given to Orissa in comparison? A good example is 12 crores by Tata Steel for the Inst. of Math and application, and few other smaller donations. Compare that to $1 Billion which is now Rs 5000 crores.

Going back to Gujarat, Andhra and Karnataka, we know what Gujarat did with respect to Nano. If given a small opening they will do the same with respect to Vedanta University.

Andhra Pradesh is in the process of developing Odyssey Science city with an area of 65,000 acres. The first phase is of 10,000 acres. Few months back Andhra CM signed a deal whereby APIC will acquire the land.(See http://www.hindu.com/2008/01/09/stories/2008010958760800.htm )  Given a chance Andhra Pradesh will pick up Vedanta University in a heartbeat. I am told that they already contacted Vedanta officials regarding that.

In Karnataka, the SAC-PM Chairperson Prof. C N R Rao is jealous of Vedanta University and is exhorting the Bangalore based IT companies to make similar contributions. In an Outlook article (see http://www.outlookindia.com/full.asp?fodname=20071217&fname=Cover+Story+%28F%29&sid=2 ) he was quoted saying:

 

IT people have a responsibility that they are yet to fulfil. If they’re making so much money, why shouldn’t they create an outstanding private university equivalent to Stanford or Harvard? Had they done something like that they would have compensated for the other problems they have created. If IT people are making money, what do I get out of it, unless I am employed in Infosys with Narayana Murthy? The trouble is, we have given them a lot, but have got nothing in return.

 

Q 9: How does Vedanta University help Orissa and India?

Answer 9: Let consider the world ranking of universities. 

In the Times ranking at http://www.topuniversities.com/ the top ranked universities in the world and the top ranked universities in India and China are as follows:

 
1. Harvard, USA
2. Yale, USA
3. Cambridge, UK
4. Oxford, UK
 

154. IIT Delhi

174. IIT Bombay

242. IIT Kanpur

274. Delhi University

303. IIT Madras

50. Peking University, China
56. Tsinghua University, China
113. Fudan University, China
141. Univ of Sc. & Tech, China
143. Nanjing University, China
144. Shanghai Jiao Tong Univ, China

In the SJT ranking at http://www.arwu.org/rank2008/Top500_EN(by%20rank).pdf  the top ranked universities and the top ranked universities in India and China are as follows:

 
1. Harvard
2. Stanford
3. Berkeley
4. Cambridge
5. MIT

303-401 IISc Bangalore, IIT Kharagpur

201-302 Nanjing University, Peking University, Shanghai Jiao Tong Univ, Tsinghua University, Univ of Sc. & Tech, Zhejiang University

As the above shows, Indian Universities including IITs and IISc are way behind the top universities of the world. They are even much behind the top universities in China.

So what Vedanta is aspiring is to be a university ranked in the top 50 of these lists, if not in the top 25. If that is achieved it will have a huge impact on India, and not just Orissa.

There will be also a lot of impact on Orissa.

 

a. It will pull up the institutions near Vedanta University such as IIT Bhubaneswar, NISER

Bhubaneswar, the proposed world class central university (WCCU) in Bhubaneswar, IIIT Bhubaneswar, and even Utkal, Ravenshaw, OUAT, etc. The reason it will pull up the other universities is that many otherwise great professors, who will miss out getting a job at Vedanta, would like to be nearby Vedanta and thus would take a position in one of the above universities in the area. The reason they would like to be near Vedanta is that being nearby will allow them to collaborate with the faculty at Vedanta. For the same reason, many of the Ph.Ds coming out of Vedanta Universities would prefer to stay in the area universities.

Note that without Vedanta, IIT Bhubaneswar may end up among the bottom IITs, NISER Bhubaneswar may end up among the bottom IISER/NISERs and the WCCU Bhubaneswar may end up among the bottom WCCUs. This is evident from the admission numbers of IIT Bhubaneswar this year. In terms of student preferences it was only better than IIT Patna. See http://www.orissalinks.com/archives/1303 . This will not improve easily.

Moreover the existing IITs and central universities have been there for years and are established in terms of their infrastructure and they also get a lot of support (including cash donations) from their alumni. The new institutions in Bhubaneswar (IIT, NISER, WCCU) will normally take multiple decades to get to that level.

But with Vedanta University nearby, the situation would change; IIT Bhubaneswar could become among the top IITs; Same about NISER Bhubaneswar and WCCU Bhubaneswar. In other words, the establishment of Vedanta University has the possibility of turning the Puri-Bhuaneswar-Cuttack area a bigger knowledge hub than Pune and Bangalore.

b. With a top IIT, NISER and WCCU near Vedanta, the whole area from Cuttack-Puri will become a huge knowledge hub. Orissa will be able to go much beyond attracting WIPRO, TCS, Infosys, Satyam to attracting companies like Google, IBM, Microsoft etc. Currently such companies come mostly to Bangalore.

c. Recently Mr. Agarwal said that (see http://www.orissalinks.com/archives/1105 ) they will work towards giving 25% seats to the students from Orissa who will be taken on merit basis. This means besides Vedanta University, they will invest in schools so that the above happens. They already have started in that direction by enrolling children of the area in DAV schools and funding their educational cost.

d. Vedanta University is starting off with a hospital and medical college. This will definitely benefit the locals.

e. Another way to look at Vedanta University’s impact is as follows.

It has been said that 3 Billion USD will be spent in making Vedanta University out of which one Billion USD will given by Mr. Agarwal. One Billion USD is Rs. 5000 crores. Recently the central government has announced IITs, IISERs, world class central universities, etc. and    the budget for making each of them has been announced. See   http://pib.nic.in/release/release.asp?relid=37684 . The budget of a new IIT is 760 crores, new IISER is 500 crores, AIIMS is 332 crores, IIM is 210 crores, and world class central university is 720 crores. They add up to 2522 crores. In other words, with 5000 crores one can almost make 2 new IITs, 2 new IISERs, 2 new AIIMS, 2 new IIMs and 2 new world class central universities. And that is  what Orissa will lose out if it throws out Vedanta University.

 

Q 10. I am opposed to Vedanta’s mining activities. How can I support Vedanta University?

Answer 10: Even if one is opposed to Vedanta’s mining activities, he/she should not oppose having Vedanta University in Orissa as opposing Vedanta University for not liking its mining operation is like "cutting of the nose to spite the face."

 

Q 11. The MOU was signed in 2006. What has happened since then to indicate that Vedanta University is serious?

Answer 11: I do not know all that has happened, but let me elaborate on the design and architectural front. (In addition they have made progress in land acquisition, hired people in implementing R & R, hired architects and engineers etc.)

They have hired a top architecture company in the USA who has a track record of participating and shaping almost all major universities in the USA. The company is Ayers Saint Gross. Its web site is http://www.asg-architects.com/ . Following are some links to their web pages which refers to Vedanta University.

The design of the master plan of Vedanta University has been featured in many US architecture venues and it has also won some awards. Following are some links on that.

Some pictures of the designs are at http://chronicle.com/media/flash/v53/i45/vedanta/ and videos are at :

 

Besides the above architecture company, the other companies that Vedanta has hired include:

Most recently, they were ready to start construction but were turned away by about 500 people.

So that is part of their current status.

In summary, Vedanta University has the potential to turn the area from Cuttack-Puri into a bigger knowledge center than Bangalore and Pune and perhaps into the biggest knowledge center (with associate knowledge companies such as Google research, Microsoft Research, IBM research etc.) in India. As a result, it can completely change Orissa. (Imagine the impact if Bangalore was in Orissa.)

We should not play politics with it; otherwise like Tata Motors moving from Singur to Gujarat, Vedanta University will move to another state and for centuries our descendants will blame us for missing an opportunity that may come once in many centuries.

 

 

14 comments November 8th, 2008

Samaja op-ed on Vedanta University

The following op-ed in Samaja restates most of the points made in the recent Hindu article titled "Vedanta University: a flawed pipe dream,"  written by Philip G. Altbach. Readers should read my rejoinder to that article.

Add comment September 19th, 2007

Rejoinder to “Vedanta University: a flawed pipe dream”

Following is a rejoinder to a recent Hindu article titled "Vedanta University: a flawed pipe dream,"  written by Philip G. Altbach.

While it is possible that Vedanta University, may not turn out as envisioned, it is definitely not a flawed pipe dream. We now show why some of the
arguments given in the above article is flawed.

1. This article talks about $1 billion (the number $3 billion is thrown as an afterthought towards the end of the article) and how it is not a lot money. First, Vedanta University folks have talked about $3 billion, not $1 billion. The $1 billion number is the number that Mr. Agrawal has pledged to contribute; not the number he thinks the university needs. He thinks the later number to be $3 billion. If one wonders where the rest of the $2 billion is supposed to come, then there are two likely sources: (i) the tuition paid by the students and (ii) the use of the real estate in the planned city around the Vedanta University.

Next, lets look at the budget of some of the existing Indian institutions:

What Vedanta University folks have said is that they will spend $1 billion in the initial phase (i.e. Rs 4000 crores) and $3 billion (Rs 12,000 crores) over the next 10-15 years.

Based on the estimates about Rs 4000 crores can be used to build two new IITs (1000 crore*2) + two new IISERs (500 crores*2) + two new central universities (300 crores*2) + two new IIMs (150 crores estimate) + a new National Institute of Design (100 crores estimate). The recurring cost of these would be at 2006-07 estimates would be 2 IITs (200 crores total), two IISERs (200 crores total), two central universities (200 crores), two IIMs (30 crores), an NID (12 crores) = 650 crores. That is about 650/(8000) = 8.125% of the remaining $2 billion of the Vedanta University estimate which is a fairly small percentage of interest. (The Indian market has been making much more in recent years.)

2. The article says: "No research university in the world has 100,000 students or even anything close."

As per, http://www.osu.edu/osutoday/stuinfo.php#enroll_large following are some large research universities in the US

Arizona State University, Main Campus 51,612
University of Minnesota, Twin Cities 51,175
The Ohio State University 50,504
University of Texas, Austin 49,696
University of Florida 49,693
Michigan State University 45,166
Texas A&M University, College Station 44,910
University of Illinois, Urbana 41,862
University of Wisconsin, Madison 41,447
Pennsylvania State University, University Park 40,709

As per http://www.asu.edu/enroll/news/news2.html ASU will have 90,000 students in its campuses by 2020. (Note that all its campuses are in the Phoenix metro area. It is not like the multi-campus UC system or U of Texas system.)

So Vedanta’s goal of 100,000 students around the same time is not that different.

3. Location: It seems the author does not have much idea about the location. The Vedanta University location is about 30 miles from the outer periphery (read Khurda) of Bhubaneswar metropolitan area (the capital of Orissa) . Bhubaneswar is very well connected with the rest of the country both by train ( BBSR , Khurda Rd Schedules, Puri Schedules) and by plane and it is expected to have international flights within a year or two . The Bhubaneswar metropolitan area has a current population of 1.6 million and at the rate it is growing (both in area and population) it is likely that by 2020 it will be more than 3 million and its periphery would be close to (if not completely engulfing) Vedanta University.

4. India is hungry for good higher education and people are willing to pay for it. May be the example of KIIT, Bhubaneswar (Orissa) will open the eyes of the author. KIIT was started in 1992 by three young people with an initial investment of few thousand rupees. In 15 years it has programs in multiple fields (engineering, management, medical science, Rural management, biotechnology, Social Sciences, Dentistry, Diploma, ITI, international high schoo l) and is a deemed university. The growth and revenue of ICFAI and Amity also illustrates the revenue potential. Although none of the above are research universities, Vedanta University can collect similar revenues and spend a big part of it in research.

So it is not unreasonable that Vedanta University will have enough students paying enough in tuition to sustain it. Moreover, one should not take the real estate aspect of Vedanta University lightly. With 6000 acres, there will be enough land left beyond the core university, to earn a handsome income, which can then be ploughed into Vedanta University’s research programs. Currently, Bhubaneswar is a destination for many IT companies for their development centers. It has the big 4 of India (Wipro, Infosys, TCS and Satyam), IBM and many small and medium sized IT companies. With a top-notch environment the research park around Vedanta university should be able to attract research divisions of international companies.

Bhubaneswar metropolitan area has 26 engineering colleges (at least 5 more will start operating in the coming year) , 7 existing universities, several more in the making, etc. etc. Please see the right column of http://www.orissalinks.com/  to get an idea of the existing and expected educational infrastructure of greater Bhubaneswar.

7 comments August 29th, 2007

Vedanta University CEO replies to queries from OTN (Orissa Today Network)

On behalf of the Orissa Today Network Mr. Manoj Padhi sent a letter to Vedanta University CEO. Following is the reply from Vedanta’s CEO.

Dear Mr. Manoj Padhi and OTN,

Thank you for your mail dated 8th April regarding Vedanta University (VU). We are happy to know that OTN, an intellectual Group of Overseas and local Oriya have appreciated the communication on the developments pertaining to the proposed Vedanta University in the State of Orissa.

Continue Reading 2 comments May 2nd, 2007

Letter from the Vedanta University project CEO

Dear Friend,

We are pleased to share with you, as well wishers of the proposed Vedanta University in Orissa, the developments to-date and our objectives in the project. The Vedanta University will be established in the state of Orissa, along the Puri-Konark highway.

We recall with pride the glorious past when Orissa had Ratnagiri University, known around the world. With the active support, encouragement and good wishes from all of you through your
constructive communication in the various blogs, e-mails and internet communications, we are confident of making Orissa once again a globally recognised center for higher learning.

Anil Agarwal Foundation, a “not for profit” institution, has been founded by Mr. Anil Agarwal, Chairman, Vedanta Resources Plc, London, for making a significant contribution to a core requirement of India viz. Education.

Continue Reading 2 comments March 30th, 2007


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