Archive for August, 2007

IMIT, Cuttack may see some improvement

Following are some excerpts from a New indian Express report.

If things move in the right direction, the Institute of Management and Information Technology (IMIT) here, could have a new look replete with infrastructural adequacies.

Biju Patnaik University of Technology Vice- Chancellor Omkarnath Mohanty announced here on Thursday that the ailing institution would have a new campus, land for which is being scouted at Naraj, in the vicinity of the proposed second campus of the Ravenshaw University and the Law University.

However, before that the existing building of the Institute would be renovated and the classrooms spruced up for the comfort of the students. The move to renovate and modernise the institution came as students went on a strike on Thursday over the issue.

The VC also said the college, which offered three-year MCA course and MBA would be provided with 55 computers within a month, 17 of which would be available within 10 days. It presently has 25 computers, all of them outdated.

Further, only 18 of them are functional. Internet facilities would be provided at the earliest The college would also have its library refurbished and computerised. For the first time, the Government-run institution would also have a functional placement cell.

I hope the above happens.

9 comments August 31st, 2007

UGC’s thrust and priorities in the 11th plan

The document at discusses UGC’s thrusts and priorities for the 11th plan. I hope Orissa Universities are taking appropriate steps in this direction. I urge anyone with expertise and ideas on how universities in Orissa can take advantage of the UGC thrust areas to make suggestions in the comments section. Furthermore, if they have contacts in Orissa Universities (such as, they know the VC, the registrar or infleuntial faculty), then they can directly suggest ideas to them.

August 31st, 2007

Institutes of Public health in Hyderabad and Gandhinagar

The following is from a PIB report.

The Government has decided to support the Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI) in setting up world class Institutes of Public health in India through contribution of upto Rs. 65 crore as one-time grant to the initial Rs. 200 crore PHFI corpus. The representatives of the Government are also there in the Governing Board of PHFI. PHFI is an autonomous Public-Private partnership and besides Government of India, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Deshpande Foundation, Amar Foundation and other high net worth corporates/individuals, both from within India and abroad, are contributing to the PHFI corpus fund.

PHFI is an initiative to bridge the gap between the requirement and availability of trained personnel in public health and to effectively promote public health management. It will not only train health professionals, but will also assist in strengthening the existing institutions in the public health sector, create a pool of excellent faculty, act as a think tank for the Government providing inputs for policy initiatives and set standards for public health education. The research programmes of PHFI would be geared to facilitate policy and programme development in public health through inter-disciplinary studies.

PHFI has decided to establish Institutes of Public health in Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh and Gandhinagar, Gujarat. The institutes will be fully operation by 2009, although short and medium term education and training programmes are expected to start from year 2008 itself.

This information was given by the Minister of State for Health & Family Welfare, Smt. Panabaka Lakshmi in a written reply to a question in the Rajya Sabha.

5 comments August 31st, 2007

Veterinary related research center in Orissa: Samaja

1 comment August 30th, 2007

Ekalavya School (Class VI to XII) for Adivasis in Kalinganagar – Kudos to past Jajpur Collector Dr. Arvind Padhee for his initiative on this (a Samaja article)

August 30th, 2007

ITER advertises (in Samaja) for its M.Tech program again

ITER had earlier advertised for its M. tech program. Today there is the following new ad.

August 30th, 2007

Short term training programs in hardware: ad in Samaja

August 30th, 2007

Program in radio jockeying and anchoring: Samaja

1 comment August 30th, 2007

+2 for hearing impaired students: an ad in Samaja

Satyabhama Devi College for hearing impaired

August 29th, 2007

Another PIB: Central university in each state

Following is yet another PIB report on this.

Subject to the Plan being finalized, it is proposed to establish 30 new Central Universities during the XIth Plan and the first two years of the XIIth Plan period, and to provide assistance for establishing one college in each district with low Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) in higher education.

Action for establishment, in the first phase, of one Central University, in each of the 16 States which do not have a Central University, so far, namely Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Goa, Gujrat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kasmir, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerela, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Punjab, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu and Uttarakhand, has already been initiated.

The targeted GER, as against the present level of approximately 10%, is at least 15% by the end of the XIth Plan and 21% by the end of the XIIth Plan.

This was stated by the Minister of State for Human Resource Development Shri M.A.A.Fatmi in a reply to a question raised by Smt. N.P.Durga in Rajya Sabha today.

2 comments August 29th, 2007

NISER in Rajya Sabha

Following is from a PIB report about NISER, Bhubaneswar.

In a Writ Petition (C) No. 10836 of 2005, the Government has submitted before the High Court of Orissa that the Government is taking follow up action for implementation of the announcement made by the Prime Minister on 28.8.2006 regarding setting up of a National Institute of Science Education and Research (NISER) at Bhubaneswar under the Department of Atomic Energy and that it is proposed to start the academic session from August, 2007. Taking cognizance of this, the Orissa High Court has disposed of the Writ Petition with a direction to the Government to ensure that the NISER is established at Bhubaneswar pursuant to the decision of the Government of India.

The Department of Atomic Energy has informed that 300 acres of land has been allotted by the government of Orissa for setting up of NISER. NISER has been registered under the Societies Registration Act and infrastructural facilities are being put in place. In addition, for admission to NISER, an NISER Entrance Screening Test (NEST) followed by interview has been conducted and admission will commence on 10th September, 2007.

This was stated by the Minister of State for Human Resource Development Shri M.A.A.Fatmi in a written reply to a question raised by Ms. Pramila Bohidar and Shri B.J. Panda in Rajya Sabha today.  

August 29th, 2007

IIIT Bhubaneswar has a web page with ad for hiring and RFP from architects

The web page of IIIT Bhubaneswar is It has a detailed advertisement for jobs and an RFP from architects.

1 comment August 29th, 2007

Tathya scrolling text: Ravenshaw University likely to get Central University Status

7 comments August 29th, 2007

Statesman: Orissa needs to set right its technical education

Following are some excerpts from a Statesman article by Jitu Mishra.

Orissa … has now become the most favoured destination for global investors attracting the likes of POSCO, Arcelor Mittal, Sterlite, Vedanta, Tata’s etc.

Backed by its abundant mineral resources it has already signed over 60 MoUs in steel, aluminum, power and other sectors ensuing an investment to the tune of Rs 4 lakh crores.

As stated recently by Industry secretary Mr. Ashok Dalwai, various project proposals including those of POSCO and Arcelor Mittal are at different stages of implementation and the government is hopeful that within the next 8-10 years, these plants would be commissioned.
The problem, however, is the non-availability of enough manpower with the specific skills which will be heavily required by these industries which are both technology and labour intensive, observe educationists and industrial circles here.

Despite some initiatives the state by and large seems completely un-prepared for meeting the demand for the manpower that will be required as these projects roll out.

The question is, how the state, which ranks 2nd in the country in terms of unemployment growth rate (as per NSSO report ’07) and home to around 10 lakh unemployed people, would cope up with the situation.

A glimpse at the projected employment opportunities to be created by of some of these mega projects reflects the huge gap.

According to a Social Cost Benefit Analysis of the proposed 12 MTPA integrated Greenfield Steel Project of POSCO-India, prepared by the National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER), the project would create 18,000 direct employment opportunities in iron & steel production sector while simultaneously generating 15,000 employments in iron ore mining sector over a period of 30 years.

The report also says that if all these direct & indirect employment opportunities of the project including the ones that will be generated as linkage effect in the manufacturing, trade, construction, agro-based businesses such as farming, animal husbandry etc., hospitality & services sectors are taken into account the employment effect of the project will be 8.7 lakh person-years over the period of 30 yrs.
Arcelor Mittal which also proposes to set up a steel plant of similar capacity though has assigned MN Dastur & Co. for preparation of the comprehensive study report, the preliminary estimates say that the project would create 20,000 direct and indirect employment opportunities.
Apart from these two companies, there are several others in the fray and some of them have even started initial or trial production.
If we go by the simple ratio of production output and employment generation put up by NCAER; the crude steel sector would generate 0.692 person-years of employment per Rs 1 lakh of output while iron ore sector would create 0.354 person-years for the same output.
More over, realization of all these projects will stimulate other industries in the state, as a Linkage Effect, which will impact job creation in related sectors.

The ancillary and downstream industries and infrastructure development sector also promise a lot many employment opportunities and scope for entrepreneurship for the unemployed in the state.

Opportunities of such huge number of employment are to benefit both the technical as well as the non-technical workforce, in the state, which is presently characterized by abundant manpower but plagued by the problems of unemployment, underemployment and migration of labour.
Human resource development experts feel that the government should develop an action plan with the help of companies and technical institutions to groom the manpower so that maximum number of talents from Orissa get employment by the time the projects start operating.
As said by Infosys BPO Chairman Mr. Mohandas Pai during his recent visit, Orissa should first put efforts to build a pool of skilled professionals in the state if it wishes to capitalize on the employment opportunities.

The government decision to open a branch of Central Tool Room & Training Centre at Kalinga Nagar Industrial Complex, in Jajpur District, POSCO-India’s Human Resource Development Training Centre on 7 acres of land and the Tata Steel’s Technical Training Center at Gopalpur are some noticeable efforts in enhancing the employability of the local people.

But, more & more companies need to be encouraged to set up technical institutes such as ITIs & ITCs to prepare manpower as the annual turn out out of such skilled workforce in the state is 21,912 from out of 24 Govt. & 152 private ITIs & ITCs in the state (As per Govt. of Orissa data for the year 2004-05).

But the fact is that many of them, around two-third pass outs even lack of technical skills, practical exposure as well as domain knowledge and fail to meet the industry standards, as pointed out by a leading automobile manufacturer.

The need of the hour is to improve on the standard of the present technical education in the state and strengthening the industry-institution linkage. Maximum advantage needs to be taken from the Biju Pattnauk National Steel Institute (BPNSI), set up by Ministry of Steel at Puri. Sensing the huge requirement of technical manpower and the urgent need of reviving the technical education, initiatives need to be started immediately to set right the technical education scenario in the state.


3 comments August 29th, 2007

Prof Madhu Mishra takes over as Sambalpur University Vice Chancellor

Update Sept 20 2009: Prof. Mishra did not join. Later Prof. Arun Pujari of University of Hyderbad was appointed and he joined as the VC of Sambalpur University. He is doing a great job.

Following is an excerpt from Pioneer. 

Orissa Governor MC Bhandare on Tuesday appointed Professor Madhu S Mishra as the new vice-chancellor of the Sambalpur University for a period of three years or until further orders, whichever is earlier.

Prof Mishra will succeed Prof PC Tripathy, whose two-month extended term shall cease from the date of assumption of office by the new vice-chancellor.

Mishra trained in the disciplines of Economics, Sociology and Development Administration had earlier worked in the Planning Commission, Ford Foundation, Sriram Centre for Industrial Relations and Delhi University. 

Prof. Mishra’s latest position was at IIM Calcutta, where his email is listed as

4 comments August 29th, 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, 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 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  to get an idea of the existing and expected educational infrastructure of greater Bhubaneswar.

7 comments August 29th, 2007

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