New Delhi, Aug. 22: The committee formed by the Planning Commission to amend Nalanda University Act, 2010, has proposed that membership in the varsity’s governing board should not be linked to financial contribution by other countries.
According to the current provisions, five members of the governing board were to be nominated by countries making donation towards the upcoming university — to be built on 450 acres at an estimated cost of Rs 1,500 crore.
The draft of the recommendations proposed by the panel headed by N.R. Madhava Menon in the form of Nalanda University Amendment Bill has been sent to the Rajya Sabha secretariat and is expected to be tabled in the Upper House of Parliament next week.
“We hope the bill would be passed by Parliament during the ongoing session. The most significant change that the bill has proposed is doing away with financial donation criterion for representation in the governing board, as it meant selling the membership. It is now being proposed that the government will choose five international representatives from other countries depending on their association with the project, while five others — eminent personalities and academicians from across the world — will be nominated by an existing board through a self-replicating mechanism. Faculty will also have a representative in the governing board,” Gopa Sabharwal, vice-chancellor, Nalanda University, told The Telegraph.
She added: “The current provisions mean that even an individual donating substantial sums could be included in the governing board, which is not possible.”
However, none of the countries , despite their commitments, have donated any significant amount towards the building of the university. Promises have been made, but so far they have remained only on paper: $1 million by China and Thailand each, while Singapore has promised to finance and develop the library, which is likely to cost around $ 7 million. The Prime Minister’s office, in its note to President Pranab Mukherjee in June 2013 had admitted that “both capital investment and operating budget of the Nalanda University will have to come from the Government of India on the pattern of central universities.”
The Madhava panel had been assigned to provide specific recommendations for international and regional connectivity via air, road and rail, suggest sustainable regional and urban development plans, especially for water, energy and physical security, strategic risk mitigation and necessary social infrastructure to support the campus and environs.
The committee, said sources, has proposed various clauses that will help the university acquire international stature and excellence through representative and flexible governance and forward looking legislation.” Among other recommendations, the committee has suggested that the ministry of external affairs, which is the nodal ministry for the project, sign an inter-governmental agreement to make it an international university.
The tenure of the present board, headed by economist and Nobel laureate Amartya Sen is ending this November and the new board is expected to be constituted according to provisions of the new norms.