The Telegraph
Friday , January 17 , 2014
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Presi names for VC search panel

Presidency University has sent to the government the names of two mentors — Nayanjot Lahiri and Rahul Mukherjee — one of who will be included as its nominee in the vice-chancellor search committee.

The university has left it to the higher education department to decide who among the two could be part of the three-member panel. The choice will depend on their availability when the government calls the first meeting of the panel.

The other two members will be nominees of the state government and governor M.K. Narayanan, the chancellor of the university.

“Both Lahiri and Mukherjee have packed teaching assignments. We have requested the higher education department to check the availability of the two while scheduling the first meeting of the search panel, which is likely to be set up this month,” said a university source.

Rahul Mukerjee, a former teacher at Indian Statistical Institute, is a professor of statistics in the higher academic grade at the Indian Institute of Management Calcutta. Nayanjot Lahiri teaches archaeology at the department of history in Delhi University.

“Whoever becomes member of the search panel, his/her availability will have to match with that of Harvard professor and Presidency mentor group chairman Sugata Bose, who is likely to be the government’s nominee in the panel, and the nominee of the chancellor,” the source said.

The university council at its last meeting held in December decided to send the name of the two mentors to the government.

“We have received the names from the university. The department is likely to announce the composition of the search committee after the governing board of Presidency University comes into existence. January 20 has been set as the deadline for forming the board,” said an official in the higher education department.

The board will be the sole decision-making body at Presidency — other state universities have two such bodies — to fast-track decisions.

The search panel will be tasked with recommending names for the first full-term vice-chancellor for Presidency. The extended tenure of interim VC Malabika Sarkar ends on February 15.

Higher education department officials ruled out the possibility of a foreigner heading Presidency University, as suggested by education minister Bratya Basu on December 26 last year.

“The governor has no problem if a foreigner is appointed as the first full-term vice-chancellor of Presidency. The government, too, is open to this,” Basu had said after meeting the governor over the selection of Presidency VC.

“The problem with a foreigner heading the university is that we don’t have any rule that allows payment of retirement benefits to such an individual,”said the official.

Two foreign nationals had earlier applied for the post of assistant professor at Presidency. But they could not join as the annual pay offered to assistant professors in a state university is less than $25,000 a year. Central government rules state that a foreign national on an employment visa in India must get a minimum salary of $25,000 — around Rs 15.5 lakh — a year.

For the VC’s post, however, the central rule on pay will not pose a problem.


Thirteen people, including six women, were injured when the minibus they were travelling in was hit by a CSTC state bus near Taratala mint around 11.10am on Thursday. The injured passengers were taken to a nearby private hospital.