Monday, January 02, 2006
THE MINISTER OF DEFENCE (SHRI PRANAB MUKHERJEE): A couple of days ago, Hon’ble Member of Parliament Shri B. K. Tripathi and some other Hon’ble Members representing the State of Orissa wanted to know whether the Government has decided to change the location of National Institute of Science from Bhubneshwar to Kolkata. I assured the Hon’ble Members that after ascertaining the facts I shall come to the House and inform the Members.
The facts are – On 9th April, 2003, the University Grants Commission (UGC) has taken a decision to establish four Centres for Studies in Integrated Sciences at Allahabad, Bhubaneshwar, Chennai and Pune. These Centre were proposed to be established under Section 12 (ccc) of the UGC Act. Vide this Section of the UGC Act, University Grants Commission is empowered to establish, in accordance with the regulation made under the UGC Act, institutions, for providing common facilities, services and programmes for a group of Universities or for the Universities in general. Ministry of HRD vide its letter dated 9th June 2003 had raised a query, whether UGC is legally empowered to set up such educational Centres under Section 12 (ccc) of the UGC Act. The matter was further examined in detail in the Ministry o HRD in consultation with the Ministry of Law. The Ministry of Law categorically opined that the UGC cannot establish the proposed Centres for Studies in Integrated Sciences under Sections 12 (ccc) or under 12 (j) of the UGC Act. The UGC was accordingly informed by the Ministry vide its letter dated October 28, 2003. As such, the UGC’s proposal to establish four Centres for Studies in Integrated Sciences under Sections 12 (ccc) or under 12(j) of the UGC Act at Allahabad, Bhubaneswar, Chennai and Pune could not materialize.
The Government of India has at no time approved setting up of Institutes, as proposed by the UGC. The Chairman, UGC thereafter informed the Government vide his letter dated November 26, 2003 that the UGC would like to facilitate setting up these institutions as fully autonomous institutions under the universities in which these institutions are to be established. Even this proposal was never agreed to by the Government.
The Scientific Advisory Council to the Prime Minister in its meeting held on 4th March 2005, New Delhi under the Chairmanship of Prof. C.N.R. Rao recommended creation of two new institutes devoted to science education and research and also recommended that they may be located at Pune and Kolkata. It was at the recommendation of the SAC-PM that the process of setting up of these two institutes at Pune and Kolkata was initiated by Ministry of Human Resource Development. As there was no decision by the Central Government at any time, to set up a science institute at Bhubaneshwar, the question of shifting of the science institute from Bhubaneshwar to Kolkata does not arise. Therefore, it cannot be said that the Institute has been shifted from Bhubaneshwar to Kolkata.
Responding to the points raised by several hon. Members, the Minister further said: My point is that this is not my subject. My point is that the hon. Members wanted to ascertain certain facts from the Ministry of Human Resource Development. My responsibility was to collect the information and to share the information with the hon. Members. I do never say that there is no demand from Orissa to have an institution. Every Member of Parliament is fully entitled to demand that. The point which I tried to develop is that whole one year was taken by the previous Government.