Archive for July, 2010

Centurion University of Technology and Management Orissa Bill-2010 tabled in the Odisha Assembly

Following is an excerpt from a report in

Debi Prasad Mishra, Minister Higher Education introduced the Centurion University of Technology and Management Orissa Bill-2010 here on 31 July in the Assembly. 

According to the Bill, the university will have its campus at Paralakhemundi, which has sixty acres of land and at least 10,000 square meters will be available in the form of buildings and ancillary infrastructure. 

The university shall be unitary, self-financed and it is established to provide advanced knowledge in branches of Engineering & Technology, Medical Science & Genetics, Humanities & Social Science, Management, Law, Vocational Education & Training, Tribal and Development Studies. 

… The Governor of Odisha will be the Visitor of the university and will preside over the convocation of the varsity. 

The Visitor will have sweeping powers and can call for any papers or information relating to the affairs of the university. 

The Chairman of the Trust will be the President of the varsity, where as the university will have Vice Chancellor, Pro-Vice Chancellor and other regular functionaries.
The Bill will be taken up for discussion in the House next week, said sources.

3 comments July 31st, 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 for more details.)

Following are some excerpts from recent news items:


    “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.


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

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 .

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

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 .

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

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:,,,,,,, ,



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

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.



13 comments July 31st, 2010

Status of AIIMS-like institutes; likely to be functional by December 2012

Following is from PIB

The Government is setting up six AIIMS-like institutions in the States of Bihar (Patna), Chhattisgarh (Raipur), Madhya Pradesh (Bhopal), Orissa (Bhubaneswar), Rajasthan (Jodhpur) and Uttarakhand (Rishikesh) under the first phase of Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana (PMSSY). Construction of residential complexes for the six AIIMS-like institutions in the first phase of PMSSY has been taken up separately and is at various stages of completion. The work for Package I, i.e. Construction of Medical College/Hostel complex has started in the last week of May, 2010. Letter of Intents for Package-II, i.e. construction of Hospital Complex were issued to the selected contractors. These institutions are likely to become functional by December, 2012.

The Government has also approved setting up of two more AIIMS-like institutions, one each in the State of Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal in the second phase of PMSSY. Location of the institutions will be finalized in consultation with the respective State Governments.

This information was given by Minister for Health and Family Welfare Shri Ghulam Nabi Azad in written reply to a question raised in Lok Sabha today.


Related links from the past:

July 30th, 2010

“Sister Universities” relationship between the proposed 14 innovation universities and 14 UK universities

Following is an excerpt from a report in c2clive.

Addressing academics at IIT-Madras Research Park, Mr. Willetts said eight U.K. universities – Oxford, Cambridge, Imperial, Essex, Birmingham, Newcastle, Exeter and the Open University – are eager to forge links during the design and eventual creation of the new Innovation Universities.

“We are keen to identify 14 British universities that can work alongside from the beginning. After talks with Kapil Sibal, I will go back to Britain to identify the 14 British universities to match up with the universities here,” the British Minister said.

I think the idea of each of the 14 innovation universities having a partner from UK is a great idea. Similar partnership from universities in US, other parts of Western Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and top universities in the East (Japan, S. Korea, Singapore and Hongkong) would be great.

July 29th, 2010

NISER Bhubaneswar plans locally relevant research and collaboration with local institutions

Following is  from a report in Times of India.

The National Institute of Science Education and Research (NISER) will soon start a research programme on subjects significant for the state’s development such as mineral resources and marine biology.

… Kakodkar said, "NISER is going to be the dream institution of our vision. Research and innovation must go hand in hand. Research on one side would facilitate growth of knowledge and bring about innovation while on the other hand the innovations would make the societies prosper and evolve. NISER has started establishing linkages with institutes in the neighbourhood."

NISER is planning to start integrated PhD programme where students will be selected after their BSc degree. The institute has signed an MoU with the Institute of Life Science (ILS), Bhubaneswar, to establish collaboration of research and educational programmes, exchange and complement facilities available in both institutions. The collaboration would also allow PhD students of ILS to take pre-PhD course work at NISER and take up joint research on subjects of mutual interest.

Similarly, NISER has also decided to tie up with the city-based Kanungo Institute of Diabetes Specialties (KIDS) to do research in areas such as correlating stress and diabetes, correlating stress, behaviour and other metabolic syndromes. The KIDS clinicians and researchers would collaborate with NISER researchers in areas of mutual interest by using each other’s facilities.

Director of NISER T K Chandrasekhar said the institute was getting a large number of applications for pure science courses. "This year, about 15,000 students applied for the integrated MSc course. As many as 9000 appeared in the National Eligibility Selection Test (NEST) for the 60 seats in the course," he added.

Out of the 60 undergraduate students that have been admitted to this fourth batch 9 have Odia sounding names which makes it about 15%. Similarly out of 23 Ph.D students that have been selected this year 9 have Odia sounding names.

NISER Bhubaneswar, which started classes in 2007, and hired its first regular faculty (other than the Director who joined in late 2008) in mid 2009 now has 61 faculty out of which 42 are regular faculty and 19 are visiting faculty. The school wise break-up is as follows: Biological Sciences (12 regular + 3 visiting), Chemical Sciences (12+5), Mathematical Sciences (5+2), Physical Sciences(13+5), Others (0+4). All the faculty have very strong research records.

In comparison the faculty numbers in the IISERs (as of today and not counting faculty who will join after July 2010) are: Kolkata – started classes in 2006 (62 regular), Pune – started classes in 2006 (47 regular+4 visiting), Mohali – started classes in 2007 (33 regular +1 visiting), Bhopal – started classes in 2008 (30 regular + 2 visiting) , and Thiruvananthapuram – started classes in 2008 (20 regular + 2 visiting).

Related Links:

July 29th, 2010

Government funding for libraries: call for applications

A pdf of the above ad and the application form is available at the following locations:

The Culture department of Odisha has many other library related schemes. Following is from the page

2 Name of    Scheme Scheme Of  Matching Assistance To Public Libraries To Acquire Computer With Accessories For Library Application and TV, CD Player, DVD Player For Educational Purposes
Description The matching scheme is intended to modernize the public library with modern technology and equip them with devices so as to satisfy the ever increasing thirst technology and equip them with devices so as to satisfy the ever increasing thirst for information of the reading clientele.
Valid upto 01-01-2012
Click here for more details (64 KB)
3 Name of    Scheme Non-matching Scheme of Financial Assistance to Public Libraries towards of celebration of 50/60/75/100/125/150 years and the like
Description The objective of the scheme is to render financial support to a library towards organization of celebration of its existence of 50/60/75/100/125/150 years and the like.
Valid upto 01-01-2012
Click here for more details (64 KB)
4 Name of    Scheme Non-Matching Scheme Of Assistance Towards Establishment Of RRRLF Children Corner
Description The object of the scheme is to support and promote children libraries or children section of general public libraries all over the country to attract the children to the library for development of reading habit, to equip children with life-long learning and literacy skills, enables them to participate and contribute to the community.
Valid upto 01-01-2012
Click here for more details (42.2 KB)
5 Name of    Scheme Matching Schemes of Assistance towards Development of Rural Book Deposit enters and Mobile Library Services
Description This scheme envisages the setting up of book deposit centers and development of mobile library Services for the benefit of both urban and rural reading public. District libraries and other selected Libraries are to serve as the base libraries from which books will be circulated to the book deposit Centers or Book delivery stations. The object of the scheme is to take library services to the disadvantaged sections of the people and to development reading habit among the people. This is a matching Scheme.
Valid upto 01-01-2012
Click here for more details (40 KB)
6 Name of    Scheme Non Matching Scheme of Financial Assistance to Children’s Libraries or Children’s Section, Women Section, Senior Citizen Section, Neo-Literate Section of Generals Public Libraries
Description The objective of the scheme is to support and promote children’s libraries or children’s section, women section, senior citizen section neo-literate section of general public libraries all over the country directly by the RRRLF in order to develop reading habit among the children, women and also to provide services to the senior citizens of the society. It also aims to boost the literacy level of the neo-literates, in order to prevent possibility of regressing into the partial or total illiteracy. It is non-matching scheme.
Valid upto


Click here for more details (88.3 KB)
7 Name of    Scheme Matching Scheme Of Assistance To Public Libraries Towards Increasing Accommodation
Description The object of this matching scheme is to render matching assistance to Government run or aided libraries for increasing accommodation. This scheme is known as Matching Scheme of Assistance to Public Libraries towards increasing Accommodation.
Valid upto 01-01-2012
Click here for more details (52.5 KB)
8 Name of    Scheme Matching Scheme of Assistance forwards purchase of storage materials, reading room furniture and library equipment like card cabinet, fire extinguisher etc., including copier
Description The object of this matching scheme is to render assistance to the libraries in order to equip them with storage materials, reading room furniture and other library equipment. The scheme is know as Matching Scheme of Assistance towards purchase of storage materials, reading room furniture and library equipment like card cabinet, fire extinguisher etc., including copier.
Valid upto 01-01-2012
Click here for more details (40 KB)
9 Name of    Scheme Matching Scheme of Assistance towards Organisation of Seminars, Workshops, Training Courses (Orientation/Refresher), Book Exhibitions and Library Awareness Programmes
Description The RRRLF has recognized the fact that the content and quality of library service need regular evaluation and improvement with the changing needs of the society. To cater to this requirement the RRRLF has adopted this scheme. This is a Matching Scheme.
Valid upto 01-01-2012
Click here for more details   (37.5 KB)

July 29th, 2010

Higher education and mass education budget highlights: From Samaja

July 28th, 2010

At least Seven new AICTE approved Engineering Colleges are starting from this year

Those are:

Six of the above are in the Bhubaneswar area taking the total number of engineering colleges in the Bhubaneswar area to 68.

Some of the engineering colleges that are still in the pipeline are:

Related articles from the past:

5 comments July 28th, 2010

IIT Bhubaneswar plans several specialised schools that will be made with corporate partnerships

Following is an excerpt from a report in

… The schools proposed to be set up by the fledgling IIT include the School of Metallurgical and Minerals Engineering; School of Ocean and Environmental Sciences & Climate Change; School of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering and the School of Design and Creative Arts. An academic advisory committee has already been constituted and it will soon submit a detailed project report to the Union ministry of human resource development on the establishment of such schools.

"These specialised schools, which will run with corporate partnerships with our strong focus on climate change research, are what we feel will differentiate IIT-Bhubaneswar from the other IITs in the country," says Madhusudhan Chakraborty, director of IIT-BBS. He adds that the time-frame for setting up these schools and the expenditure involved would be known only after the submission of the detailed project report.

IIT-BBS is in talks with some corporate houses with the objective of running the proposed schools in sync with industry requirements. It has already entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the MGM Group for the establishment of a Chair Professor of eminence at the School of Metallurgical and Minerals Engineering. …

Meanwhile, IIT-BBS has started PhD programmes from the academic session 2009-10 with the focus areas for research being climate change, alternative energy, manufacturing and mineral development.

It is offering a seed funding of Rs 5 lakh to each of the faculty members to boost research. "The seed funding is expected to give a big boost to research at IIT-Bhubaneswar. The institute has also started consultancy in a small way", says Chakraborty.

IIT-BBS … has 45 full-time faculty members besides visiting faculty. …

Chakraborty hopes to have a pool of 2,500 students and 250 faculty members. In the next 15 years, he expects a student intake of 10,000 and faculty strength of 1,000. IIT-BBS also expects to receive a funding of Rs 60 crore from the Government in the current financial year.

3 comments July 27th, 2010

SOS from Vedanta University or Vedanta University’s Good Bye indication to Odisha??

Last month there was an article in Business Standard about the difficulty Vedanta University is facing and its consideration of shifting to the southern states. See

Today I was pointed to a new article in Business World. Following are some excerpts.

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).

However, as with most projects requiring land acquisition, the university project, too, got mired in controversy. On 17 March, Orissa Lok Pal Justice P.K. Patra recommended a vigilance probe against AAF’s land deals. In May, the environment and forests ministry withheld clearance for the university, citing “irregularities, illegal, unethical and unlawful deeds”.

With the odds stacked against it, AAF is weighing other options. “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. “Any place near Hyderabad or Chennai would be a good location,” says Narayanan Ramaswamy, head of education practice at consultancy firm KPMG.

The more important question, though, is: is a large university of this kind feasible in India?

Too Ambitious?
Vedanta’s justification for requiring so much land is simple — to build an institution on the lines of Stanford and Harvard. The 8,180-acre Stanford University was established in 1891. Harvard, set up in 1636, is the oldest institution of higher learning in the US, and has about 5,000 acres. But both were set up when land was not a precious commodity. Besides, the US is a far bigger country than India, and can afford to have universities of such scale.

I was also told that in a CNBC TV show (mentioned here, but no video there yet) Mr. Anil Agarwal said that they are looking for land for Vedanta University in some southern states.

10 comments July 25th, 2010

IIT Bhubaneswar gets its first Chair Professorship

MGM Minerals Ltd, Bhubaneswar has paid Rs 1.5 crores to create a Chair "Professor of Eminence" in Minerals and Metallurgical Engineering for 5 years. According the Director of IIT Bhubaneswar: "This is historic for IIT Bhubaneswar."

1 comment July 23rd, 2010

Educational Initiatives of the Bharti Foundation

From their web page at we have the following.

BHARTI FOUNDATION, the philanthropic arm of Bharti Enterprises was established in 2000 with a vision "To help underprivileged children and young people of our country realize their potential". BHARTI FOUNDATION, is an organization established under the Laws of India with charitable status pursuant to a "Deed of Trust".

One of their flagship program is the Satya Bharti School program. Following is from their home page.

The Satya Bharti School Program is the flagship program of Bharti Foundation. With a goal to establish 500 Primary and 50 Senior Secondary Schools, this program, aims to create a replicable, scalable and holistic model of quality education in rural India

Following are excerpts from an article in Economic Times about Satya Bharti schools.

Harpreet is one of the 30,000 students who are now studying in Mittal’s free English-medium schools in Punjab, Rajasthan, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. This is likely to increase to 50,000 in two years. The plan is to eventually build 500 primary schools and 50 secondary schools which will enroll 100,000 students by 2013.

Not only is this one of the largest such direct interventions by a business house, but Mittal also claims this is one of the largest affirmative action initiatives in the country.

“More than 21,000 of the 30,000 or 70% of the students in these schools are from SC/ST and OBC categories. The ratio is the same among the 1,100 teachers now on the foundation’s rolls,” says Mittal. “We have not gone looking for SC/ST students, but we have gone into catchments that are very poor. And, by this very design, we have got them,” Mr Mittal adds. Moreover, 47% of the students are girls.

… Most of them have been set up as an alternative to poorly-run government schools. There is a world of difference between the two. Kirthi Sharma, a head teacher of one of the foundation’s schools near Ludhiana, points out that simple things like clean drinking water, working infrastructure, clean toilets were some of the things that the 191 students in the school cherished. A replacement teacher is also sent from a nearby school or from the foundation if a teacher goes on leave, ensuring that all classes are always staffed.

Each of these schools is built according to a blueprint drawn up by Delhi-based architect Navneeth Malhotra. The Foundation invited several architects to make a pitch for the project and were given a Rs 20 lakh cost cap for a school building. Finally, Sunil and brother Rakesh Mittal handpicked Malhotra.

Each school is located in half an acre of land and has five classrooms (for standard 1-5) and a staff room. Other facilities include toilets, a vegetable garden and a playground. Every school also has an internet connection. “We send weekly updates on attendance, books, and uniforms to Delhi on email. We also download teaching manuals, instructions and sometimes even additions to the menu amongst other things,” says Anamika Kappor, head teacher in a school in Ludhiana district Punjab. The schools run on two shifts and have between 5-7 teachers whose salaries start at about Rs 4,500. The head teacher is paid about Rs 7,000. On an average, the foundation spends about Rs 12 lakh per annum to run each school.

The Bharti group’s managerial skills are quite evident in the way these schools are run. Like every group company, the Bharti Foundation has a CEO in Vijay Chadda. He quit the army in 1992, held a string of high-profile corporate jobs, including that of CEO of Carlson Wagonlit Travel and Kuoni Travel, before he took a pay cut to join the foundation in 2008.

… He has a team of 1600 employees; 1100 are teachers, while the rest are involved in logistics, training, curriculum design, and other support roles. Three state-heads oversee the functioning of about 90 schools each, and report to the headquarters in Delhi.

The centralised training wing and a team of 10 trainers prepare the curriculum and coach the teachers. Training is a 365-days-a-year operation. “There are subject specific modules happening all the time — for instance, the maths or science teachers of all schools in that district will be called to a centralised location and taught new tools and skill sets,” explains Mr Chadda.

… Though it has 236 primary schools, the Bharti Foundation is planning to set up only 25 secondary schools, that too over the next 3 years. Mittal’s plan is to have each of these 25 secondary schools absorb all the students passing out from 10 primary schools in the vicinity. He chose this hub-and-spoke model for various reasons.

Foundation executives say it is impossible to upgrade all primary schools to secondary schools. “The latter would require labs for subjects like Physics and Chemistry and teachers for such specialised areas,” Mr Chadda said. Funding the infrastructure and finding the teachers for 236 such secondary schools would be a challenge. That’s why it settled for one secondary school as a hub for students coming out of 10 primary schools.

… The Rajasthan government is undertaking joint surveys with the foundation to convert many of the existing schools to senior secondary schools. The World Bank has also shown interest, Mr Chadda added. There are other problems too like 20% attrition amongst teachers. The foundation pays only a third of the salaries when compared to a government school. “Many teachers use this as a platform to get experience before moving on,” he says. “We pay higher than other private schools in the locality, but being a charitable organisation, we cannot match government salaries,” he adds. He believes attrition will come down once the secondary schools become operational. “Primary school teachers can be promoted — this will be an incentive,” he said.

… That was when Mr Mittal decided to do it himself. He started the Bharti Foundation in 2000 with a corpus of Rs 200 crore. The dream for 500 schools that would educate 100,000 poor children was taking shape in his mind.

… Soon, the Rajasthan government offered 49 schools in the Neemrana and Ajmer blocks for adoption. It moved existing teachers to other schools and gave the foundation a clean slate. The foundation then invested Rs 5 lakh to renovate each school and hired new teachers. It was a brave move considering the political ramifications of handing over state-owned and run schools to corporates. But, like his businesses, Mittal wanted to scale up fast here too.

They have recently started a Satya Bharti School in Murshidabad West Bengal. Odisha should contact them and offer them terms similar to Rajasthan.

Bharti Foundation also has a scholarship program. Following is an excerpt about it.

The Bharti Scholarship and Mentorship Program was instituted in the year 2006-07 to enable academically bright youth from financially weak families to complete their higher education. Currently the program supports 232 scholars across the country and covers courses in management, engineering and agriculture.

… Mentorship is an integral component of the Bharti Scholarship Program. Involving senior executives from the Bharti Group of Companies, the Mentorship Program looks at providing each scholar with a mentor who can help make the right career choices, provide them with relevant exposure and guide them in decisions which will shape their future. Today, 105 senior executives from Bharti Group of Companies are involved in the mentoring program.

The scholarship form is available at An FAQ on the scholarship is available on the web. Google "Bharti foundation scholarship FAQ" to get a link to it.

July 23rd, 2010

Vedanta Science College to come up in Lanjigarh Kalahandi; DAV society to manage it:

Following is from a report in

Vedanta Aluminium will set up first ever science college at Lanjigarh of Kalahandi District in Orissa. 

The full session will begin from the academic year 2011-12. 

The college will impart graduate level studies in Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics, Zoology, Botany and Environment Science. 

This will be funded by the Lanjigarh Project Area Development Foundation (LPADF) – the special purpose vehicle formed for as per the advice of the Supreme Court. 

In the last Lanjigarh Project Area Development Foundation (LPADF) meeting, it has been decided to open a graduate science college at Lanjigarh to provide opportunities to large no of students of the block as well as nearby area like Muniguda, Ambodola and Biswanathpur area; as no such college is available within 50 KM radius of Lanjigarh. 

The opening of the science college will fulfill the demand of local residents, who are demanding the science college for a long time.

Dr. Mukesh Kumar, Chief Operating Officer, Vedanta Aluminium Limited, Lanjigarh and Director of LPADF said, “It is the long due for the people of Lanjigarh. 

… Vedanta Aluminium Limited has proactively agreed to provide land for the college. 

DAV College Trust and Management society has also agreed to be the partner of the project by providing best education practice for the pupils of Kalahandi. 

A letter of confirmation to the effect has already been submitted to Collector of Kalahandi. 

DAV College Trust and Management is a premier education society in the country and has already set up more than hundred colleges across India. 

In Lanjigarh, DAV College Trust and Management society has jointly set up an international school, which has been operating for the last four years and is one of the most modern schools within Kalahandi and Rayagada district .

July 23rd, 2010

Draft Law on Innovation Universities under circulation

Following is an excerpt from a report in Hindu.

… As per the first draft of the Bill circulated by the Union Human Resource Development Ministry to the heads of all higher educational institutions like Central universities, Indian Institutes of Management and Indian Institutes of Technology, and members of the task force on the National Commission for Higher Education and Research, each University for Innovation will have to establish a University Endowment Fund but will have the freedom to receive donations, contributions from alumni and other incomes as long as 80 per cent of annual income is used for development of research infrastructure. Each university will be a not-for-profit legal entity and no part of the surplus revenue will be invested for any other purpose except growth and development of the university.

… The Innovation Universities are primarily intended to be private institutions. However, the HRD Ministry can also make grants to develop them, in which case the President would be the Visitor and the government would have a larger role to play in their functioning.

Each university will have an independent Board of Governors that will be empowered to discharge all functions by enacting statutes to provide for its administration, management and operations. The Board will delegate its powers to the Academic Board headed by the Vice-Chancellor that will perform financial, management and administrative functions including appointments and collaborations, the Board of Studies that will specify programmes of study to be offered, Faculty of Knowledge Manpower Assessment to study and assess through research trends in emerging fields of knowledge of relevance, and the Research Council that will interface with the research funding organisations, industry and civil society.

Intellectual property

In the case of a publicly-funded university, any new knowledge created from research that leads to an intellectual property will have to be reported to the government for retaining title. The Centre may refuse title on the grounds of public interest or exceptional circumstances, or national security. The Central government will protect, maintain and utilise the publicly funded intellectual property for which the title vests with it and it can give directions for prohibiting or restricting the publication of information to any person or entity which it considers necessary in the interest of the country. The income or royalties arising out of publicly funded intellectual property will be shared by the University for Innovation with the intellectual property creator in accordance with the provision.

The establishment of 14 Universities for Innovation is expected to set benchmarks for excellence for other institutions of higher learning through “path-breaking research and promoting synergies between teaching and research.” Each such university will stand for “humanism, tolerance, reason and adventure of ideas and search for truth.” It is expected to attempt to provide a path for humankind free from deprivation and seek to understand and appreciate nature and its laws for the well-being of the people. Further, these institutions will seek to “provide society with competent men and women to meet the knowledge needs of the country and perform service to the nation and to humanity and cultivating the right moral and intellectual values.”

I am trying to get hold of the draft law, but have not been successful yet.

1 comment July 22nd, 2010

Junior College preferences to study Plus 2 Science among students of Odisha

This is based on the cut-off data in and is only about the 169 junior colleges for which there is e-counseling. Note that there are now more than 100 private plus 2 science colleges across Odisha (with more than 50 in Bhubaneswar-Cuttack area alone) and they are not part of this list. An example is the Kalinga Bharati College that did very well in Plus 2 exams this year. In 2007 we had made a list of the new breed of private +2 science colleges at By now the number of such colleges has more than doubled.

District College


Cutoff %

Khurda Buxi Jagabandhu Bidyadhar (Junior) College, Bhubaneswar 91.2
Cuttack Ravenshaw (Junior) College, Cuttack 89.67
Khurda College (Junior) of Basic Science & Humanities, Bhubaneswar 87.33
Cuttack Jatiya Kabi Bira Kishore (Junior) Government College, Cuttack 85.5
Balasore Fakir Mohan (Junior) College, Balasore 85
Ganjam Khallikote (Junior) College, Berhampur 84.33
Khurda Rama Devi Women’s (Junior) College, Bhubaneswar 84
Cuttack Shailabala Women’s (Junior) College, Cuttack 83
Khurda Rajdhani (Junior) College, Bhubaneswar 82.83
Dhenkanal Dhenkanal (Junior) College, Dhenkanal 82.17
Ganjam Sashi Bhusan Rath Government Women’s (Junior) College, Berhampur 81.72
Mayurbhanj Maharaja Purna Chandra (Junior) College, Baripada 80
Balasore Upendra Nath (Junior) College, Soro 79.83
Bhadrak Bhadrak (Junior) College, Bhadrak 79.8
Puri Samanta Chandra Sekhar (Junior) College, Puri 79.67
Ganjam Binayak Acharya (Junior) College, Berhampur 79
Sundargarh Government (Junior) College, Rourkela 79
Nayagarh Nayagarh (Junior) College, Nayagarh 78.67
Khurda Maharishi (Junior) College of Natural Law, Bhubaneswar 78.5
Jajpur Narasingh Choudhury (Junior) College, Jajpur 78.33
Jagatsinghpur Swami Vivekananda Memorial (Junior) College, Jagatsinghpur 78
Angul Government (Junior) College, Angul 77.83
Cuttack Salepur (Junior) College, Salepur 77.83
Sambalpur Gangadhar Meher (Junior) College, Sambalpur 77.67
Balasore Kuntala Kumari Sabat Women’s (Junior) College, Balasore 76.17
Ganjam Science (Junior) College, Hinjilicut 75.5
Keonjhar Dharanidhar (Junior) College, Keonjhar 75
Kendrapara Kendrapara (Junior) College, Kendrapara 74.17
Khurda Kamala Nehru Women’s (Junior) College, Bhubaneswar 74
Dhenkanal Government Women’s (Junior) College, Dhenkanal 73.83
Puri Nimapada (Junior) College, Nimapada 73.17
Baragarh Dadhi Baman (Junior) College, Bhatli 73
Ganjam Government (Junior) College, Chhatrapur 72.67
Khurda Prananath (Junior) College, Khurda 71.83
Jajpur Vyasa Nagar (Junior) College, Jajpur Road 71.33
Ganjam Rama Chandra Mardaraj Science (Junior) College, Khallikote 69.33
Jagatsinghpur Adikabi Sarala Das (Junior) College, Tirtol 68.5
Bolangir Rajendra (Junior) College, Bolangir 68
Sambalpur Government Women’s (Junior) College, Sambalpur 68
Balasore Gopalpur (Junior) College, Gopalpur, Balasore 67.5
Khurda Kshetrabasi Dayananda Anglovedic (Junior) College, Nirakarpur 66.67
Mayurbhanj Rairangpur (Junior)College, Rairangpur 66.67
Kendrapara Marshaghai (Junior) College, Marshaghai 66.5
Cuttack Gopabandhu Science (Junior) College, Athagarh 66.33
Jajpur Baba Bhairabananda (Junior) Mahavidyalaya, Chandikhol 66.17
Kendrapara Pattamundai (Junior) College, Pattamundai 66
Gajapati Sri Krushna Chandra Gajapati (Junior) College, Paralakhemundi 65.67
Koraput Vikram Deb (Junior) College, Jeypore 65.67
Angul Janata (Junior) College, Boinda 64.67
Khurda Sri Satya Sai (Junior) College for Women, Pokhriput 64.5
Ganjam Khemundi (Junior) College, Digapahandi 64.33
Sundargarh Ispat (Junior) College, Rourkela 64
Bhadrak Atal Bihari (Junior) College, Basudevpur 63
Baragarh Attabira (Junior) College, Attabira 61.83
Ganjam Aska Science (Junior) College, Aska 61.33
Jajpur Sadhu Goureswar (Junior) College, Kanikapada 61.17
Keonjhar Anandapur (Junior) College, Anandapur 60.83
Keonjhar Government Women’s (Junior) College, Keonjhar 60.8
Baragarh Panchayat (Junior) College, Bargarh 60.5
Kandhamal Government (Junior) College, Phulbani 60.5
Sundargarh Sushilabati Government (Junior) Women’s College, Rourkela 60.5
Rayagada Gunupur (Junior) College, Gunupur 59.67
Balasore Rural Institute of Higher Studies, Bhogarai 59.5
Puri Gop (Junior) College, Gop 59.17
Angul Athamallik (Junior) College, Athmallik 59
Dhenkanal Hindol (Junior) College, Khajuriakota 59
Angul Talcher (Junior) College, Talcher 57.5
Sambalpur Kuchinda (Junior) College, Kuchinda 57.17
Koraput D.A.V. (Junior) College, Landiguda, Koraput 57
Baragarh Larambha (Junior) College, Larambha 56.33
Mayurbhanj Laxmi Kanta (Junior) College, Bangriposi 56.33
Ganjam Tara Tarini (Junior) College, Purusottampur 56.17
Nawarangpur Pendrani (Junior) Mahavidyalaya, Umerkote 56.17
Malkangiri Balimela (Junior) College of Technology, Niladrinagar 55.17
Sundargarh Rourkela (Junior) College, Rourkela 54.17
Balasore Nilagiri (Junior) College, Nilagiri 53
Puri Alarnath Dhandamulak (Junior) Mahavidyalaya, Brahmagiri 50.67
Cuttack Mohan Subudhi (Junior) College, Baramba 50.17
Rayagada Rayagada (Junior) College, Rayagada 49.67
Cuttack Narasinghpur (Junior) College, Narasinghpur 49.4
Kendrapara Sailendra Narayan (Junior) College, Rajkanika 49
Mayurbhanj Seemanta (Junior) Mahavidyalaya, Jharpokharia 49
Mayurbhanj Karanjia (Junior) College, Karanjia 48.83
Sundergarh Bonaigarh (Junior) College, Bonaigarh 47.17
Mayurbhanj Udala (Junior) College, Udala 45.83
Sambalpur Burla N.A.C. (Junior) College, Burla 45.83
Sonepur Sonepur (Junior) College, Sonepur 45.67
Khurda Sishu Ananta (Junior) Mahavidyalaya, Balipatna 45.6
Sambalpur Trust Fund (Junior) College, Bamra 45.5
Koraput Semiliguda (Junior) College, Seimiliguda 45.33
Koraput Kotpad (Junior) College, Kotpad 45
Keonjhar Chandra Sekhar (Junior) College, Champua 44.83
Keonjhar Braja Bandhu (Junior) Mahavidyalaya, Harichandanpur 44.17
Cuttack Banki (Junior) College, Banki 42.17
Nayagarh Ranapur (Junior) College, Ranpur 42
Sambalpur Netaji Subash Chandra Bose (Junior) College, Sambalpur 42
Bhadrak Biranchi Narayan Madhab Arjun (Junior) College, Paliabindha 41.83
Bhadrak Dhamnagar (Junior) College, Dhamnagar 41.83
Khurda Godavarish (Junior) Mahavidyalaya, Banapur 41.5
Sundargarh Government (Junior) Science College, Kutra, Sundergarh 41.5
Puri Mangala (Junior) Mahavidyalaya, Kakatpur 41
Boudh Boudh Panchayat (Junior) College, Boudh 40.67
Nayagarh Pathani Samanta (Junior) College, Khandapara 40.67
Nuapada Sinapali (Junior) College, Sinapali 39.83
Mayurbhanj Jashipur (Junior) College, Jashipur 39.67
Jharsuguda Women’s (Junior) College, Jharsuguda 39.33
Kalahandi Kesinga (Junior) Mahavidyalaya, Kesinga 38.67
Puri Utkalmani Gopabandhu Smruti (Junior) Mahavidyalaya, Sakhigopal 38.67
Bhadrak Chandbali (Junior) College, Chandbali 38.33
Keonjhar Tarini Thakurani (Junior) Mahavidyalaya, Ghatagaon 38.33
Nayagarh Raghunath Samabaya (Junior) Mahavidyalaya, Odagaon 38.17
Dhenkanal Kamakshyanagar (Junior) College, Kamakshyanagar 38
Ganjam Kabi Samrat Upendra Bhanja (Junior) College, Bhanjanagar 38
Bolangir D.A.V. (Junior) College, Titilagarh 37.83
Baragarh Anchal (Junior) College, Padampur 37.67
Bhadrak Agarpra (Junior) College, Agarpara 37.67
Gajapati Indira Memorial (Junior) College, Chandiput 37.5
Khurda Begunia (Junior) College, Begunia 37.33
Mayurbhanj Government (Junior) Science College, Tiringi, Mayurbhanj 37.33
Sundargarh Government (Junior) College, Sundargarh 37.33
Deograh Deogarh (Junior) College, Deogarh 37.17
Sundargarh Shrama Sakti (Junior) College, Biramitrapur 36.83
Baragarh Women’s (Junior) College, Bargarh 36.33
Kalahandi Government (Junior) College, Bhawanipatna 36.33
Puri Pipili (Junior) College, Pipili 36.17
Sundargarh Government Women’s (Junior) College, Sundargarh 36
Khurda Jatani (Junior) College, Jatani 35.67
Kandhamal Adibasi (Junior) College, Balliguda 35.33
Mayurbhanj Upendra Nath (Junior) College, Nalagaja 35.17
Nuapada Government (Junior) Science College, Nuapada 35.17
Bolangir Jawaharlal (Junior) College, Patnagarh 34.83
Jharsuguda Brajarajnagar (Junior) College, Brajarajnagar 34.83
Sonepur Shreeram (Junior) College, S. Rampur 34.33
Bolangir Panchayat Samiti (Junior) College, Belpara 33.83
Jagatsinghpur Paradeep (Junior) College, Paradeep 33.38
Jagatsinghpur Sarala (Junior) Mahavidyalaya, Rahama 33.33
Kandhamal Jeevan Jyoti (Junior) Mahavidyalaya, Raikia 33.33
Balasore Dinakrushna (Junior) College, Jaleswar 33.17
Nuapada National (Junior) College, Nuapada 33.17
Angul Malyagiri (Junior) Mahavidyalaya, Pallahara 33
Baragarh Sohela (Junior) College, Sohela 33
Bolangir Kantabanji Vocational (Junior) College, Kantabanji 33
Gajapati Government (Junior) Science College, Jirnaga, Gajapti 33
Jajpur Sukinda (Junior) College, Sukinda 33
Jharsuguda Laxmi Narayan (Junior) College, Jharsuguda 33
Kalahandi Panchayat (Junior) College, Dharamgarh 33
Kandhamal Kalinga (Junior) Mahavidyalaya, G. Udayagiri 33
Malkangiri Government (Junior) Science College, Malkanagiri 33
Mayurbhanj Barasahi Panchayat Samiti (Junior) College, Barasahi 33
Nawarangpur Nabarangpur (Junior) College, Nawarangpur 33
Nuapada Khariar (Junior) College, Khariar 33
Rayagada Women’s (Junior) College, Rayagada 33
Sambalpur Bhim Bhoi (Junior) College, Rairakhol 33
Sonepur Birmaharajpur (Junior) College, Birmaharajpur 33
Sundargarh Dalmia (Junior) College, Jharbeda 33
Sundargarh Vesaja Patel (Junior) College, Duduka 33

The above data is consistent with anecodotal stories that I heard regarding most students from areas like Bhawanipatna going off to other places (including Raipur and Visakhapatnam) to pursue their +2 science and get coaching.

2 comments July 21st, 2010

Many 11th plan HRD initiatives including 20 new IIITs facing roadblocks; Minister Sibal seeks PM’s help

Following is an excerpt from a report in Indian Express.

Sibal had written to the PM seeking his intervention on three stuck schemes including the proposal to set up 20 new IIITs (Indian Institutes of Information Technology) on PPP basis, which was shot down by the Finance Ministry earlier this month. Of the other two stuck projects, one is meant to finance state universities and colleges, and the second is a Rs 2,000-crore scheme to set up 2,500 vocational schools across the country.

The PMO has now asked the Planning Commission to re-examine the projects.

Sibal is learnt to have brought to the PM’s notice how these projects were key to increasing the Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) in higher education. India is looking at a GER target of 20 per cent by 2020 against a dismal 12 per cent at present.

the ministry’s proposal — shared with all state governments last year — to incentivise states for setting up new universities and colleges has also hit a roadblock. The proposal is to provide Central assistance to state governments to the tune of 1/3rd of the capital cost for setting up of new universities and colleges and also for expansion of existing institutes. The state governments will be required to bear 2/3rd of the capital cost and recurring expenditure. In fact, states have already been asked to identify land and suitable locations for these new institutions and also prepare detailed project reports.

2 comments July 21st, 2010

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