Archive for December, 2009

Existing and recently approved (in the 11th plan) Dept. of Biotechnology Institutes

Following is an excerpt from the PIB

Autonomous Institutions: There are seven existing autonomous institutions under Department of Biotechnology namely National Institute of Immunology (NII), New Delhi; Centre for DNA Fingerprinting and Diagnostics (CDFD), Hyderabad; National Centre for Cell Science (NCCS), Manesar; National Institute of Plant Genome Research (NIPGR), New Delhi; Institute of Bioresource and Sustainable Development (IBSD), Imphal; Institute of Life Sciences (ILS), Bhubaneswar. Recently, Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Biotechnology (RGCB), Thiruvananthapuram has been taken over from Government of Kerala. These institutes have generated 382 publications, 24 patents granted/filed, 9 patents in pipeline and 13 technologies were developed.

Establishment of new breed of institutions in critical areas has been one of the major strategies of 11th plan. Cabinet has approved setting up of institutions namely Institute for Stem Cell Science and Regenerative Medicine, Bangalore; National Agri-food Biotechnology Institute with bioprocessing plant  Cluster in Knowledge city at Mohali; Translational Health Science and Technology Institute (THSTI); Regional Centre for Biotechnology Training and Education under the auspices of the UNESCO, Faridabad and Institute of Biomedical Genomics in Kolkata and efforts are being made to establish institutions. In other proposed new institutions, National Institute of Animal Biotechnology, Hyderabad has been approved by EFC.

Regional biotechnology clusters , around the new institutions are being planned to promote innovation and discovery. These are the Translational Health Cluster at Faridabad, the Agrifood Cluster at Mohali and the Innovation Cluster at Bangaloore. Together, it is hoped that these will become the technology and innovation gateways of India.

2 comments December 31st, 2009

Efforts to improve the infrastructure of Utkal University of Culture: Samaja

1 comment December 31st, 2009

Motihari (Bihar) and Kasargod (Kerala) unacceptable to MHRD as central university locations; proactive actions needed in Koraput

Following is from a report in Indiaedunews.

Proposed Central varsities in two remote areas of the country – Bihar and Kerala have received a denial from the Human Resource Development (HRD) ministry to host new Central universities for their states.

Far-flung Motihari and Kasargod in Bihar and Kerala respectively do not qualify up to the desirable standards for a site to be constructed for such universities as they lack the physical and social infrastructure to proceed.

The ministry is learnt to have asked the two states to come up with an alternative location for the set up.

The Central government clearly opposed the stand of the State governments, academics and development votaries who stood by the decision to host the new varsities in the remote areas of the country, which will boost its economy and help in creation of new and additional infrastructure.

The necessary conditions needed for the set up of a university in both Motihari nad Kasargod area are not feasible due to poor access, connectivity and lack in infrastructure in the form of good schools which are vital to attract quality faculty in the varsity.

While Kasargod, located in the northern part of Kerala suffers serious connectivity issues, Motihari in East Champaran in Bihar is considered a backward region.

The ministry felt that constructing such institutes in these areas will mar the whole criteria of establishment since they would not be able to provide quality education through qualified teachers, as they would not be interested to enter in such areas.

A similar problem has been faced by the Central University at Koraput in Orissa which is facing a serious faculty crunch in terms of quality.

Lack of adequate facilities, along with absence of good schools and hospitals are proving to be deterrents for the faculty who are unwilling to shift over to such areas.

In regards to Koraput, Orissa government needs to take some proactive steps quickly; before the problem becomes worse. Earlier we suggested the following

  • Start a daytime train between Bhubaneswar and Koraput. The distance between them is 679 kms. (Note that Koraput has daily overnight trains to Bhubaneswar and Howrah and a new daily train to Rourkela has been announced in this year’s budget.)
  • Start an intercity between Visakhapatnam and Jeypore via Koraput. (Distance is 258 kms.)
  • Open a knowledge park of 200 acres near the central university. This knowledge park should contain an STP, and other amenities. the state should invite trustees of some of the top private engineering colleges to establish educational institutions such as engineering colleges in this knowledge park.

In addition, the state should vigorously pursue the proposed airport in Jeypore.

6 comments December 31st, 2009

Earlier this year College of Agriculture Bhawanipatna started with 48 students in B.Sc (Agriculture) program

I knew about classes starting in the college of engineering in Bhawanipatna but somehow I missed this news earlier. The following news item in Dharitri provided the tip.

Looking in the web I found the following two documents in regards to College of Agriculture, Bhawanipatna.

5 comments December 30th, 2009

The importance of a community college system in India: Excerpts from an interview with Prof. Yash Pal

Following is an excerpt from

The Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) of students in colleges and universities in Gujarat is still pathetic according to UGC. Tribal areas in the state have a high school dropout rate. What needs to be done in Gujarat?

There is a community college system in the US, which is very flexible (unlike the polytechnics in India). In this system, the class hours are highly flexible. As part of the adult education, the students can enrol for any subject. But in India, we have strict rules such as a student should be a matriculate, etc. In north Gujarat, artisans are doing fine work in Bandhani (tie and die). No one else can do that. There should be a system that can educate them separately so that they are literate enough to use their skills in a better way. I do not believe in measuring methods such as GER. A minimal education is important but it is the skills that make a person knowledgeable. Gujarat may have private or deemed universities, but they are for the classes and not for the masses.


1 comment December 28th, 2009

Labor minister Pushpendra Singh Deo appeals on ESIC Medical College

Following is from Samaja.

This creates an interesting situation. On one hand Rourkela is really the right location for the ESIC Medical college; but on the other hand changing of an already announced location can be dangerous in that it opens up other attempts to change other locations. No announcement of a location will be safe as  people from other aspiring areas will keep trying to change it and some of that may result in instability and chaos.

While ESIC medical college case is a very very special case,  and we tried to make that case, it seems to be very difficult to make people understand that. Even we have failed in that in these pages.

That may be one of the reasons Orissa government is being stubborn on the ESIC Medical college case.

As the Telangana case illustrates how one decision can have snowball effect on the rest of the country, unless the ESIC case is carefully handled (by all sides) it can create chaos across the state.

December 27th, 2009

Vedanta University campus design showcased as a 21st century university campus

Following is a lecture announcement in New York for 14th December 2009. It is excerpted from the page

Mon 12.14.2009


CES LUs 1.5; HSW 1.5

When: 6:30 PM – 8:00 PM MONDAY, DECEMBER 14

Where: 19 Washington Square North

Adam Gross
Design Principal, Ayers Saint Gross
Pawan Agarwal Civil servant in the Indian Government and author of Indian Higher Education, Envisioning the Future


The 21st Century Campus Series

NYU Abu Dhabi joins a small number of complete universities developed in the 21st century. The series will highlight both campus design and the ideas about education these plans embody. We are interested in the communal ideals the campuses stand for, the challenges associated with community building in the 21st century, and the intercultural agenda universities are forging with their host cities and regions. The lectures will take place at 19 Washington Square North, the gateway to NYUAD in New York City.

This series is co-sponsored by the AIA New York Chapter.


CES LUs 1.5; HSW 1.5

Lectures are free and open to the public, but seating is limited.

Please RSVP by email to


This second lecture in the series, on Vedanta University, Orissa India, will feature:
Adam Gross, Design Principal, Ayers Saint Gross, Inc.
Pawan Agarwal, Author of Higher Education in India: The Need for Change (2006)

December 27th, 2009

Speech of Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh at the foundation stone laying ceremony at National Institute For Science Education And Research, Jatani, Bhubaneshwar

Update:  Additional coverage at

Following is from

I am delighted to be here today to participate in the foundation stone laying ceremony of this National Institute of Science Education and Research. The institute symbolizes our commitment to the development of Odisha and its people. It also symbolizes our commitment to the cause of education, and particularly to science education. 

We recognise the important role that education has to play in our development process and our steady progress towards being a modern knowledge society. In the last about five years our government has undertaken a massive expansion and improvement of our education system at all levels. But we realize that we need to do much more. 

In the area of science education particularly, I share the concern that our best minds are not turning to science. We must find ways of making science more attractive to our youth. We must improve the quality of teaching in science and mathematics at the school level. At the university level we must ensure better infrastructure, high quality faculty and greater interaction between academia and industry. 

Since independence, there has been a great deal of progress in our Science & Technology system. This is evident from the success of the mission-oriented Science &Technology agencies, like the family of Department of Atomic Energy institutions, that have made our nation proud. We are committed to ensure operational autonomy, including in matters of appointments, to various institutions of excellence under the Department of Atomic Energy as is the case with some other scientific institutions of eminence in India. 

I am also aware that we need to increase our expenditure on Science & Technology from its current level of 1% of our GDP. This is about half of the level of developed countries. The Government is committed to increasing Research & Development funding and for the last few years, we have been allocating larger budgets in this area. But I also expect the private sector to do more for Research & Development. We also need more public- private partnership in Research & Development in all areas of Science & Technology. 

One way of making careers in science and technology attractive would be to improve remuneration and ensure the integrity of the selection process. It is well known that the initial starting salary for scientists with a PhD in India is often lower than those of Engineers, Doctors and Management graduates. It is obvious that if talented young people are to be retained in science, scientists have to be treated differently than other Government employees in service and salary matters. 

It is our expectation that the National Institute of Science Education and Research will produce scientific trained manpower of a very high quality which could directly find placement across the country. There will be greater emphasis on branches of science relevant to the Department of Atomic Energy, which also cater to better exploitation and utilization of Odisha’s natural resources. Odisha’s mineral and marine resources will be taken into consideration in designing training programs for students here. 

We expect NISER to be an institute at par with the best in the country in terms of facilities and faculty. It will have a research to teaching load as practiced in the best universities in the world. This will ensure world class education and also attract the best researchers. It will have world-class experimental facilities in all the current and emerging branches of science including physics, chemistry, modern biology and environmental sciences. I am confident that the National Institute of Science Education and Research will become an eminent institute for science like TIFR and IISc. 

Let me end by wishing the National Institute of Science Education and Research all the very best in the years to come. Odisha has produced many outstanding scientists like Jogesh Chandra Pati. I hope this institution will produce many more great men of science. I also wish all of you all success in your efforts to make India stronger in Science and Technology.”


December 27th, 2009

160 construction companies bid for the AIIMS-type institutes

Following is an excerpt from a report in

There is an unprecedented response for tenders for the construction of new All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS)-type medical institutions in Patna, Raipur, Bhopal, Bhubaneshwar, Jodhpur and Rishikesh.

Sources in the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare sais around 160 construction companies joined the bidding making it more competitive.

Thanks to the incentive package, if the construction of the institute is completed within the stipulated time or little in advance of the scheduled time, the company would get benefit of Rs 10 crore at one stroke. As per the detailed project report, construction cost of each institution, which comprises the medical colleges and the hospital, is around Rs 300 crore and for the all the six institutes, the cost would be around Rs 1800 crore.

2 comments December 26th, 2009

Institute of Social Sciences New Delhi has a regional center in Bhubaneswar

The website of Institute of Social Sciences, New Delhi is Its home page says the following:

The Institute of Social Sciences, the result of an intellectual quest to provide socially relevant and activism-oriented research, aims to study contemporary social, political and economic issues, with an inter-disciplinary perspective. The Institute makes its research findings and recommendations available to government bodies, policy makers, social scientists and workers’ organizations so as to widen their options for action. Advocacy in the area of local governance is another main concern of the Institute. It monitors public policy, takes up relevant research and engages in consistent advocacy. The Institute has since its inception in 1985 sought to bring to the centre stage the issue of participatory local self-government, people centric development and democratic governance.

Thrust Areas


Governance is a major area of research of the Institute. It has pioneered research and advocacy on local bodies which have been constitutionally designated as "institutions of self-government."

Local Democracy

The main focus of our study includes grassroots democracy, functional, financial and administrative autonomy of local governments, theory and practice of local finance and best practices in local governance.

Urban Studies

The Urban Studies department focuses its research on issues related to urban governance and the interface between citizens’ organisations and local government in urban development.

Women Studies

The Institute has been working for the last several years in the field of political empowerment of women, gender justice and the role of women in participatory democracy.


Globalisation, particularly its impact on local democracy, has been a major focus of our study. The Institute is engaged in studies on various aspects of globalisation and its social impact since early 1990’s. Results of studies and research on this subject have attracted worldwide attention.

Global Network on Local Governance

Promoting a sound understanding of local democracy at the regional and global levels, dissemination of values of local democracy, participative governance, documentation and exchange of experience in local governance and widening the scope for people’s participation in governance are the primary objectives of the Global Network on Local Governance.
For More Information Please Visit :

Legal Aid System on Local Governance

The Legal Aid Centre has been set up by Institute of Social Sciences (ISS) to provide various legal services for local government institutions (LGIs) in India. To enable the local governments (the panchayats and municipalities) aware of their constitutional and legal rights, and Institute of Social Sciences also take up legal interventions on their behalf.

Database on Local Government

Institute has been maintaining a web-enabled database on various aspects of local government in India. It covers national, state and district level data. .

Human Rights

Impact of decentralization on human rights, human rights initiatives in India and South Asia, police training and reforms and prison reforms are our main areas of research.

South Asia Studies

South Asia is a focal area of study, research and action of the Institute.

International /National Conferences

The Institute has held a number of international conferences on Poverty, Basic Services and Environment : the Asian Experience (1994), Kerala’s Development Experience (!996), Europe and South Asia: 500 years (1999).

Internship, Exchange Programmes

The Institute encourages graduate and research students to spend time at the Institute as interns. Field studies will be facilitated from here. The Institute also welcomes professors/scholars from Advanced Social Science Research Institute and University Departments to spend a tenure here as Visiting Fellows, Visiting Professors.
For affiliation to the Institute and other details, write to the Foreign Scholars Department, Director’s Office, Institute of Social Sciences.

International Partnerships

The Institute works closely with the Forum of Federations (Ottawa), National Endowment for Democracy (Washington), World Movement for Democracy (Washington), South Asia Partnership (Colombo) and European Institute on Asian Studies (Brussles). We have regular exchange visits of scholars and researchers. We also have internship programmes for foreign students. We provide the young scholars our library facilities, faculty guidance and all other help in facilitating their field work.

The institute has a faculty of 23 and 8 researchers. From its web page it is not clear where it gets its funding from. (The page says that it is not government funded but gets outside funding.)  It has four regional centers and one state office. One of the regional centers is in Bhubaneswar. Some information about the regional center in Bhubaneswar is as follows:

Regional Coordinator: K.K. Patnaik; Research Officers: Pramila P.Patnaik
Address: Plot No. 75/A, BJB Nagar, Bhubaneswar 751014
Telephone: 0674-2310292
The Bhubaneswar Centre coordinates activities in the Eastern Region, and brings out the Oriya language edition of the Panchayati Raj Update

December 25th, 2009

Delhi farmers offer land for state university

Earlier I wrote about people getting together and offering land for a university, a branch campus, or a new institute in Orissa. This is exactly what has now transpired in Delhi. I hope people in various parts of Orissa learn from this. Following is an excerpt from a report about the Delhi farmer’s offer.

… A delegation from Delhi’s villages called on Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit on Monday and presented to her a resolution offering 540 bighas of land in the Ghumanhera village in Najafgarh for opening of a State university.

A memorandum seeking opening of a new general university under the Delhi government and naming it after former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi was submitted to Ms. Dikshit …

They said that opening of a new general university under the Delhi Government would benefit the farmers of Delhi as it would also help in implementation of the OBC reservation list under which the Jat community is covered.

Dr.Kumar had earlier also raised this issue with the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for inclusive development in the rural areas by asking to give a portion of the developed land to the farmers from whom it is acquired, said that the meeting was a historic landmark as the farmers have willfully offered to give the Gram Sabha land for a noble cause.

… Sibal had however given a green signal to the plea, in writing to Dikshit that, the government should consider the plan and avail the help of the Centre to set up a new state university providing incentives to the states during the 11th Plan since the Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University does not have seats in general higher education, in which a majority of students from the rural areas of Delhi are interested.

Following the interaction, Dr. Kumar said the Chief Minister declared that she would soon work on forming this new university and thanked the farmers for offering to give their land to Delhi Government for the purpose.

The underlined parts above are important points. (i) Returning part of the developed donated land to the farmers, which by then is multiple times worth the original land, is a win-win situation. (ii) General Universities are important and no matter the existence of NIT and BPUT, Rourkela, still the second largest metropolitan area of Orissa, must have a general university at the earliest.

December 23rd, 2009

VSS Medical College Burla to become a Unitary University: Dharitri

Update: Samaja also reports on it.

9 comments December 22nd, 2009

Indian Institute of Mass Communication (IIMC), including its Dhenkanal campus on its way to become a Media University

Following is an excerpt from a report in

A two-and-a-half-year-old proposal by the ministry of information and broadcasting (I&B) to upgrade the Indian Institute of Mass Communication (IIMC), a 45-year-old state-run media school, into an international university may be approved.

The I&B ministry is preparing a draft cabinet note on the subject in consultation with the institute, according to a report of the standing committee on information technology tabled in Parliament last week. …

The enhanced status will let it offer bachelor’s and postgraduate degrees instead of the postgraduate diploma it currently offers.

The I&B ministry has also asked the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) in New Delhi for facilities since the media institute is currently located on the JNU campus. The university status will also cover IIMC’s campus at Dhenkanal in Orissa.


1 comment December 22nd, 2009

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

New National School of Drama regional campuses at Bangalore, Kolkata, Jammu and Kashmir, Maharashtra/Goa and North East

Following is from a PTI report.

The National School of Drama is in the process of establishing five regional centres in India, including in Jammu and Kashmir and the North East, the Lok Sabha was informed today.

While one of these regional centres –in Bangalore– has already been set up, the NSD is in the process of identifying locations for other centres in consultation with state governments and other stake holders.

This was said by Minister of State for Planning and Parliamentary Affairs, M V Narayanasamy, who also holds the ad-hoc charge of the ministry of culture in response to a question.

"It is proposed to set up five regional centres of the National School of Drama — at Bangalore, Kolkata, in Jammu and Kashmir, Maharashtra/Goa and in the North East," he said.

He said the Bangalore Centre of National School of Drama has already started functioning from February, 2009.

After NID this is the second fallout for Orissa. In July this year the Orissa Culture minister met the culture secretary in Delhi and requested him about NSD. At that time his response was encouraging.

1 comment December 19th, 2009

Ravenshaw to offer teaching jobs to its toppers: Dharitri

1 comment December 18th, 2009

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