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‘Eminence’ tag on Presidency

The University Grants Commission (UGC) has accorded to Presidency University the status of a “university of national eminence”.

Making the announcement on Tuesday, vice-chancellor Malabika Sarkar said the tag would enable the university to get more donations. The status, she said, meant that a monetary donation to the university would make the donor eligible for 100 per cent tax relief.

“There are many in the country who are eager to donate and a complete tax relief means it will attract more donors, which will benefit the university,” said Sarkar.

UGC awards the institution of national eminence status on the basis of certain parameters — such as the university’s alumni strength, faculty and teaching standards and infrastructure.

“We had applied for the special status nearly a month ago and recently received a letter from the UGC informing us of its decision,” said Sarkar.

The decision was placed before the meeting of the university’s council on Tuesday.

The varsity is also likely to attract more funds from alumni settled in the US. Some of the erstwhile Presidency College’s former students have got together to form an organisation — Friends of Presidency in United States — to collect funds for their alma mater, said sources.

Anybody settled in the US will be able to donate funds to Presidency through the new body. Those donating through Friends of Presidency in United States will get substantial tax relief in that country, Sarkar added.

The fledgling university depends mainly on funds given by the state government.

“We are grateful to the government for giving us the necessary funds. But we cannot depend only on the state government’s funds for further development of our university. The new avenues that have opened up for attracting funds from outside will help our university to achieve its target of becoming a world-class institution,” said a university official.

The university has recently signed an MoU with Trinity College, Dublin to promote collaborative postgraduate studies and research in pure sciences, bio-science, social sciences, engineering and emerging fields. The scholarship for running the course will be funded by the Calcutta-based Keventer group.

“The Keventer group funding is the first major funding we have got so far. We are hoping to get more such funding for the academic development of the university after getting the university of national eminence status,” the official said.

The council also finalised the recruitment of two-professors in economics and four assistant professors in Bengali.

The two professors are Sugata Dasgupta of Jawaharlal Nehru University and Partha Gangopadhyay of the University of Western Sydney, Australia.