Shillong, Dec. 1: Meghalaya’s long-cherished dream was fulfilled today when Union human resource development minister Arjun Singh laid the foundation stone of the Rajiv Gandhi Indian Institute of Management (RGIIM), the seventh IIM in the country, at the Mayurbhanj complex of the North Eastern Hill University in Nongthymmai.
Initially, the institute will function from the Mayurbhanj complex. Admissions to the institute will start next year at the temporary campus before it is shifted to the permanent one at Mawdiangdiang.
The state government has already handed over 80 acres of land for the permanent campus at Mawdiangdiang.
“The Northeast is now on the march. You should not feel that you are left behind, as India is marching along with you,” Singh said during the function. He said the Shillong IIM was named after late Rajiv Gandhi, unlike the other six IIMs, as the former Prime Minister “had contributed a lot to the Northeast”.
Singh said the institute would help reduce the handicaps existing in the region in terms of human resource development.
Later, speaking to journalists, Singh said the new institute would be on a par with the six other IIMs in the country.
The institute will conduct courses on post-graduate diploma in business management, fellowship programmes in management, management development programmes, tourism and hospitality management, tele-services and tele-medicine, information systems and technology, and subjects of local relevance such as tourism horticulture and hydel power.
The annual student intake capacity for post-graduate diploma in business management will be 60 in the first year, 120 in the third year and 180 in the sixth year.
Singh had announced that the seventh IIM would be set up in the Northeast during a review meeting here in June, 2004.
Union minister for tribal affairs P.R. Kyndiah said the IIM would help promote the city as a centre of advanced learning.
Meghalaya chief minister D.D. Lapang and chief secretary Ranjan Chatterjee termed the setting up of the IIM as a historic day for the people of the Northeast. “I hope the students from Shillong and the rest of the Northeast can compete with their counterparts to get admitted to this prestigious institute,” said Mary Pariat, selection grade lecturer with the directorate of education, research and training, Shillong.
Singh also inaugurated a multi-use convention hall at Nehu today, assuring the university authorities that fund constraints would not come in the way of its development.
Nehu vice-chancellor Pramod Tandon said the university was working towards attracting more foreign students.He added that the university was committed to implementing complete e-governance and providing a clean and transparent administration.
Singh met eight of the nine vice-chancellors of central universities in the Northeast at Guwahati Raj Bhavan this evening, prior to his departure for Delhi.
He assured the vice-chancellors that special funds would be made available for the Northeast in the 12th Finance Commission to boost education in the region. The meeting lasted for nearly half-an-hour.