Friday, July 31, 2009
Vedanta University comes to existence: Act passed in Orissa assembly
Following is from a report in Pioneer.
Finally, the Vedanta University Bill has got the approval of the State Legislative Assembly on Thursday.
With this the authorities would be able to set up a multi-disciplinary varsity on a sprawling 6,000 acre land along the Puri-Konark Marine Drive Road. Chairman of the Knowledge Commission Sam Pitroda is likely to be the first VC of the Vedanta University. Besides, at least three Nobel laureates have been roped in to join as faculty, sources said.
Earlier, the Opposition as well as the Treasury bench members frowned upon some of the provisions made in the Varsity Bill. A number of amendments were brought in the existing provision. The proposed varsity would not be able to open off campus or off shore centre in relation to academic programmes of the institution.
Government chief whip Rabi Narayan Pani and Opposition Chief Whip Prasad Harichandan moved two separate amendments for the consideration of the House. Both opposed the provision allowing the varsity to open off campus centres.
“The legislation passed in the State Assembly has its purview in the territory of Orissa. Therefore, it would be illogical to allow the varsity to open off campus centres,” Harichandan said, adding that the varsity should be allowed to open regional campuses inside the State. Harichandan also cited the instance of a Supreme Court judgment striking down the Chhattishgarh Government’s act of allowing a varsity to open off campus.
“We asked the varsity authorities to open regional campuses inside the State. We have also proposed them certain locations in the KBK region, southern and northern Orissa for opening up of the campuses,” Higher Education Minister Debi Mishra said while replying to the amendments brought by the members.
As per the provision, the employees would not be treated as public servants. However, the Government would not interfere in the selection process of the employees. Merit would be given due consideration at the time of admission as its motto is to develop it as a world-class university. But no reservation facilities would be extended to either Oriya students or SC and ST students. Earlier, there was a demand to extend 10 per cent reservation facilities to the SC and ST and Oriya students. But the demand was struck down.
However, financial relaxations would be provided to SC and ST and weaker sections of the society.
Two MLAs would be taken as the members in the Management Board of the University.
If the University authorities don’t go ahead in establishing the university, the land would ultimately come back to the Government. If there is any dissolution of the university, it has to given a notice to the Government and employees and students of the university at least three year in advance.
Higher Education Minister Mishra also maintained that the university was required for the development of education in the State. He also rejected BJP legislature party leader KV Singh Deo’s apprehension that Vedanta might get benefit from the rich sand minerals. “The Centre is empowered to take a decision if any mineral is available in the land,” he said.
Following are some excerpts from the Business Standard report.
The admissions to the university will be on merit basis. Though there is no reservation in admission and recruitment for the Orissa students, the university authorities will set up knowledge centres in different regions of the state for development of higher education in these areas.
Similarly, there will be concession in the fee structure for the weaker section, scheduled caste, scheduled tribe students of the state. The governing body of the university will comprise of 16 members. They will include two MLAs, one lady from SC or ST community and two nominated members of the government who includes the higher education secretary and an eminent educationist of the state.
If the university authorities choose to close down the institution, they will have to give notice for it three years in advance. In that case, the land acquired for the university from the local people, government and the Lord Jagannath temple will revert back to the original title holders. The land will be transferred to them at the price at which the land was acquired. It may be noted, the project will require 6000 acres of land.
… Meanwhile, the ICFAI University Bill, which was also tabled in the house, was referred to a select committee of the state assembly.
Following is an excerpt from tathya.in.
More than 40 lawmakers participated in the marathon discussion which covered 20 amendments.
Most important is fee relaxation for the poor, SC ST and meritorious students of the state, for which university authorities will formulate a separate policy, announced Mr.Mishra.
Secondly 2 of the lawmakers of Orissa House will find place in the Board of Governors.
Most importantly, if the University fails to come up, the land losers will receive back their land.
Land losers will also get facility to allow their children to read in the University with a liberal fee.
The amendments seem pretty reasonable.
Moreover, I really applaud the democratic process. The Bill was first presented in December 2008 and was tabled. This time it was presented on Saturday the 25th July 2009. There have been discussion on it since then and several hours on the 29th and almost the full day of July 30th was spent on debating and going over the bill clause by clause and making 20 amendments. I applaud the Orissa lawmakers to have done their job diligently. I admire the whole process. I hope the proceedings was recorded in video and would be some day made available to generation of Orissans and Vedanta University alumni.