Tuesday, May 30, 2006
Monday, May 29, 2006
TIMES NEWS NETWORK[ TUESDAY, MAY 30, 2006 12:22:46 AM]
It’s time India built more, many more, IITs. Seven IITs for an economy that intends to sustain its current annual growth rate of 8%, and even improve on it, is dismally meagre.
The government should immediately draw up a comprehensive national project to build at least one IIT in each of India’s 28 states and six union territories. It could, for one, give the indomitable E Sreedharan of the Konkan Railways and now Delhi Metro fame, overall charge of the project. That would put it in mission mode.
There’s, of course, the little matter of financial resources. Setting up an IIT would require upwards of Rs 2,000 crore. The government should evolve ingenious programmes of public-private partnership, and the required political consensus, to accomplish such an ambitious project. India produces 200 technology specialists for every one million of its population each year as opposed to the US, which produces 750. India has already cornered a large slice of the services pie outsourced by the developed world. It must repeat that feat in manufacturing. More IITs and quality engineering colleges would help the nation accomplish that.
Speed cannot be a euphemism for haste, though. The HRD ministry has reportedly been trying to push through the first batch of students for the two premier Indian Institutes of Science Education and Research (IISER) in Kolkata and Pune by July 2006. The two IISERs will, for the time being, be run out of makeshift campuses, and on borrowed faculty. Such alacrity is counterproductive.
Rapid expansion of higher and technical education must be accompanied with pedagogic and curricular reform. IITs, today, are factories churning out engineering graduates. Their distinguished masters and research programmes are in a shambles.
That is unfortunate. Engineers deliver more efficient and humane solutions when they can account for an ensemble of technical, economic and social concerns. Post-graduate, and doctoral programmes in basic and human sciences were instituted in IITs to foster precisely such an interdisciplinary approach. Consolidation of that paradigm must be integral to setting up new IITs.
Shubhajit RoyPosted online: Monday, May 29, 2006 at 0000 hrs Print EmailHRD Delay: Kolkata and Pune premier institutes plan to start from temporary premises, with borrowed faculty
NEW DELHI, MAY 28:While HRD Minister Arjun Singh works on his Cabinet note on how to increase seats and upgrade infrastructure in premier educational institutions as per the Government’s OBC quota formula, chances are the note may skip his Ministry’s dismal record on this task.
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Two premier institutes of science education, announced in March last year, are at least three years away. And eight months after it was decided that there will be a new Indian Institute of Management (IIM) in Shillong, the project is yet to be cleared by the Finance Ministry.
This assumes significance given that seat increase is being used as a sweetener to the bitter quota pill despite a chorus of criticism on the “crude” manner in which the decision has been taken. C N R Rao, the PM’s chief scientific advisor, told The Indian Express this week how he had not even been consulted before the “stupendous” decision was taken.
Ironically, it was Rao who headed the panel that in March 2005 decided to set up two Indian Institutes of Science Education and Research (IISERs), in Kolkata and Pune, at the cost of Rs 500 crore each.
The goal is ambitious: two high-quality research institutions exclusively offering Bachelor’s and Master’s programme in sciences to attract the best of 10+2 talent. And direct PhD programmes in frontier areas of science research. Student strength: 2,000 over the next five years, with 200-strong faculty.
But consider the progress:
• Neither institute has a permanent campus nor permanent faculty.
• Despite this, the HRD Ministry is trying to push through the first batch from this July in “makeshift and temporary locations”.
• In Kolkata, for example, classes for the first batch of 70-odd students, selected via the IIT entrance exam, will be held in the Kolkata campus of IIT Kharagpur.
• With no hostel ready, students will stay in nearby campus of National Institute of Technical Teachers’ Training and Research (NITTTR) at Salt Lake.
• “We have just started the process of acquiring land (200 acres) in Kalyani (a Kolkata suburb), and hope to complete the modalities soon,” said IIT (Kharagpur) director Shishir K Dube, who is the project-director for setting up IISER (Kolkata).
• Its counterpart in Pune, too, is in a hurry to start the first batch in August at the “temporary location” in National Chemical Laboratory (NCL) in Pune. “About 100 acres, adjacent to the NCL, have been acquired recently. But no work on the construction of the campus has started yet,” sources said.
• Classes for the first Pune batch will initially start in a two-storied building at NCL’s Innovation Park. “Construction of new buildings will take nearly three years to complete,” sources said. NCL (Pune) director Dr S Sivaram, who is the project director for IISER (Pune), was unavailable for comment.
• No permanent faculty have been hired yet. Said Dube: “We will get faculty members from various institutes in Kolkata, like the Jadavpur University, IIT (Kharagpur) and S N Bose National Centre for Basic Sciences to teach the students.” Pune, too, will draw faculty from NCL and local colleges.
So how long will it take? “Only after we acquire land in Kalyani, will we invite tenders and architects and then we will know whether it will take two or three years to construct the campus,” Dube said.
That’s not the only hurdle. The two institutes are to be formed by establishing a registered society which has to be followed by an Act of Parliament declaring them as “Institutes of National Importance.” Progress on drafting that law? No one in the Ministry is willing to hazard a guess.
For the IIM in Shillong, the news is worse. On June 15, 2004, Arjun Singh had called a meeting of North-Eastern states where it was decided to set up the seventh IIM in the region. A three-member panel, formed that November, comprised Secretary (Higher Education), Secretary (Development of North-Eastern Region) and Indian Institute of Management (Calcutta) Director. It chose Shillong.
The Rs 100-crore project has not yet been cleared by the Expenditure Finance Committee (EFC) of the Union Ministry and land is yet to be acquired although the Meghalaya government had identified the 100 acres. with Rituparna Bhuyan, Pune
Sunday, May 28, 2006
BJD responds to Minister Sahu's comments (From Pioneer)
Sahu invites BJD ire on Paradip
|Coming down heavily on the statement made by Sahu, the BJD, in a statement, said the oil refinery project was the joint effort of the BJD and the BJP. When the NDA Government was in power at the Centre, former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had come and laid the project's foundation stone at Paradip. The Government also tried to complete the project by 2010. In the later stage, it was decided by IOC to add a petrochemical complex to the project. |
|A delegation, led by Rajya Sabha member Pyari Mohan Mohapatra along with BJD-BJP MPs, met Union Minister of Petroleum Murli Deora during the last Budget session. They had demanded an increase in the capacity of the project and expeditious construction of the project work. BJD general secretary Narendra Swain said when the BJD and BJP MPs made the demand, Sahu was nowhere in the scene. Even though the BJD-BJP delegation had invited the Congress MPs of Orissa to accompany them, they stayed away from it, he said. The Petroleum Minister had told the delegation that a decision would be taken in the IOC board meeting in April. After the board meeting, IOC Chairman Sarthak Behuria had announced what the minister had promised. |
|The 330-km Paradip-Haldia oil pipeline will be completed very soon, but it will not benefit the State, about which Sahu is also not aware, said Swain. During the previous NDA regime, the decision for setting up a National Institute of Science was taken, for which land was identified. But the present UPA Government shifted it to Kolkota due to the pressure applied by the Leftists. The BJD and BJP MPs sat on a dharna before Parliament in protest and met the Prime Minister. At that time too, the Congress MPs did not react and stayed away. Now, Sahu is claiming that he had discussions with the Prime Minister on the issue, but would he tell the people of the State what the Prime Minister has promised, Swain asked. |
|While the BJD-BJP combine has been demanding for NIS, IIT, IIM and a Central University in Orissa, the Central Government has been denying the State its legitimate claims, which is a great humiliation for the State. |
|The demand for Special Category Status for the State has also been repeatedly turned down by the Centre. Besides, Coal Minister Shibu Shoren rejected the State's demand for increasing its coal royalty. The proposal for setting up an AIIMS taken up during the NDA Government tenure has become a dream now, Swain pointed out. |
|He said Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil and Panchayatiraj Minister Mani Shankar Aiyer have praised the State Government for its performances, which has put the State Congress on a sticky wicket. But strangely, Sahu has stated that the BJD-BJP Government is unable to spend the Central funds. Sahu made the statement to spare the State Congress further embarrassment, remarked Swain. |
|However, Sahu has admitted that one lakh job cards were distributed in the Food-for-Work programme in the State. Sahu came to know the State Government's performance in this regard after touring nine districts. |
|This was in contrast to the PCC president Jayadev Jena's earlier allegation that not a singe job card was distributed. Surprisingly, there is no similarity in statements given by the two leaders of the same party, Swain pointed out. |
|He said the State has always been neglected during the Congress rule, about which the Congress leaders of the State have never opened their mouth. |
|Sahu has crticised the State Government for his own political benefit, Swain said, adding that the Union Minister should not indulge in cheap gimmicks and stay away from making such politically motivated statements.|
New Indian Express on HRD ministry increasing inequity
Saturday, May 27, 2006
What did minister Chandrasekhar Sahu say and how reliable are his statements?
local copy at http://www.baral.us/orissa/pdf/2006-may27-pragativadi-nis.pdf
The Pragativadi report is as follows. But can we trust what Mr. Sahu says.
Is there any truth behind it or is it fiction to appease incensed Oriyas who are still fuming at the way UPA government has acted so far on the NIS/IISER issue? See the Telegraph article at the end to get an idea on why we do not take Mr. Sahu's words at face value.
As the saying goes, ``once bitten twice shy.''
So, if a positive decision on an IISER in Bhubaneswar has been made, we will wait until the PM says it. Based on the past history, we are not going to take Minister Sahu's words as reported.
Orissa to have an IIS soon: Sahu=================================================
Union minister of state for labour and employment
Chandrasekhar Sahu on Thursday announced that an Indian Institute of Science (IIS) would be
set up in Orissa in place of National Institute of Science (NIS).
Briefing newsmen at the Congress Bhawan here on the occasion of completion
of two-year of the UPA government at the Centre, he said that prime minister
Manmohan Singh would shortly make an announcement to this effect much to the
delight of the people of Orissa.
Sahu also said that the prime minister would also lay a foundation stone for
the proposed petroleum complex at Paradip soon.
The project envisages a massive investment of Rs 47,000 crore, he added.
Justifying the cancellation of the proposed NIS in the state, Sahu said that
the then NDA government had made mere announcements without backing it up
with firm proposals.
The NIS was proposed by the UGC and since it was not the competent
authority, the idea was rejected, he pointed out.
He also said that the regional centre of AIIMS, for which the then prime
minister Atal Bihar Vajpayee had laid a foundation stone amidst much
fanfare, was virtually non-existent in terms of Cabinet approval and
Though a section of have been raking up sentiments over these issues by
giving impression that the UPA government had scrapped these projects, the
UPA government on the contrary, has formalised the regional centre, he
The following Telegraph article suggests that Mr. Sahu's words should not be taken at face value.
Oil project to get new stone
Bhubaneswar, May 25: Minister of state for labour Chandrasekhar Sahu today said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh would re-lay the foundation stone for Indian Oil’s (IOC) Rs 47,000-crore mega project at Paradip, but not all were willing to fall for the announcement.
A senior IOC official from Delhi expressed doubt about the quantum of investment claimed by the minister as well as the re-laying part. Former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had laid the foundation stone for the refinery-cum-petrochemicals project in July 2000.
“We had earlier planned to instal a 9-million-tonne fuel refinery. Later, considering the demand for fuels and petrochemical products, the capacity was jacked up (to 15,000 million tonnes). The oil board cleared the Rs 25,000-crore project just two months ago. I don’t see the project cost doubling so soon,” said the IOC official.
He also seemed unaware of the “decision” to re-lay the foundation stone. “No one is aware of such things,” the official held.
Addressing reporters here today, Sahu said he met Singh and petroleum minister Murli Deora recently to discuss the project. “I requested the Prime Minister to re-lay the stone. He agreed to my request and would decide on a date soon,” the minister claimed.
After the stone-laying in 2000, the project ran into rough weather as the Orissa government rejected IOC’s request for tax benefits. Later in 2004, however, the state changes its mind.
Besides the refinery, the project would also feature facilities for production of front-end petrochemicals and a pipeline to Ranchi.
Friday, May 26, 2006
Thursday, May 25, 2006
Statesman on Minister Sahu's statement about NIS
NDA slammed on NIS
BHUBANESWAR, May 25: Sentiments more than reason and facts run high when the issue of setting up a National Institute of Sciences or regional center of AIIMS in the state crops up.
And today, it was the turn of Union minister Mr Chandra Sekhar Sahu to be barraged with questions on these issues. The questions continued even after Mr Sahu had put the record straight ~ the NDA had made mere announcements without backing it up with firm proposals. The NIS was proposed by the UGC and since it was not the competent authority, the idea was rejected. The regional centre of AIIMS, for which the then Prime Minister Mr AB Vajpayee had laid a foundation stone amidst much fanfare, was virtually non-existent in terms of Cabinet approval and budgetary allocations. Yet a section of people have been trying to rake up sentiments over these issues and send a message as though the UPA government had scrapped these projects.
On the contrary, the UPA government has formalised the regional centre, stated Mr Sahu. He pointed out that MPs cutting across party lines had appealed to the PM for the NIS in Orissa. Mr Sahu also noted that Mr Vajpayee had laid the foundation stone for a oil refinery at Paradip which was pushed to the back burner during the NDA regime. The UPA has not only taken it up but has decided to expand it to a petroleum complex envisaging a massive investment of Rs 47,000 crore he added. nSNS
===============================================Chitta's comments: Mr. Sahu should read the document
If what is reported above is correct, then he does not understand the
history of how NIS was hijacked. If so, shame on him.
'India's contribution to science dropping'
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Karaikudi (TN), May 19: India's contribution to the world in the field of science is dropping rapidly and it is now just 0.5 per cent compared to 1.5 per cent in 2003, Prof C N R Rao, Chairman of the Scientific Advisory council to the Prime Minister, said here today.
India was far behind the US which contributed 50 per cent and China which accounted for 8.7 per cent, Rao said, delivering the First "Faraday Lecture" on "Science for our future: Personal reflections on five decades of Research", organised by the Central Electro chemical Research Institute.
India's contribution to high-quality research was one per cent two years ago, compared to 65 per cent from USA, and 25 per cent from Europe. Now it was just .5 per cent along with Brazil, said Rao, also President of the Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research, Bangalore.
Even China's contribution to high quality research was just .5 per cent two years ago. But they had caught up and they contribute two per cent. China's contribution to Physics had doubled, now it was almost equal to Japan, he said.
Even in the field of Nano Technology, in which India made some pioneering theoretical research when some people ridiculed the term "Nano", China's contribution was 50 per cent compared to one to five per cent from India.
Last year China contributed 500 research papers of which 140 were published by the Physical Science society, but India contributed only 90 papers though 60 were published, he said.
Rao regretted that the number of people taking science research was dwindling, as the field was not lucrative nor was there moral and spiritual support for the science community.
Bright people from the South, who were once interested in science, were going after Information Technology and helped foreign companies earn money. "People work for minimum degree to earn maximum money, this is not a healthy trend."
He was concerned that the 'IT industry virus', which destroyed the basic interest in science and diverted the student's interest towards materialistic things, was spreading to states like West Bengal and Orissa from where best science students were coming up.
Warning India would not have a future if she did not contribute more to science, he said several world science bodies were closely monitoring the neglect of science by India.
"Our candidates are not even nominated for best research papers awards by international bio-science forum. If our contribution is so low, how do we get into world science bodies?," Rao asked.
Rao said China had understood that only by doing more research in Pure science, they could make more inventions.
China is investing USD 500 million compared to India, which invested only Rs 30 crore. "We need to invest more. Even the best IIT in India is not comparable to the worst institute in Israel," he said.
Mr Sahu told mediapersons here that the Centre in principle has agreed to set up the project involving the Indian Oil Corporation and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh would lay the foundation stone.
Asked about the Paradip Oil Refinery project whose foundation was laid by the then Prime Minister A B Vajpayee at Paradip, the Union Labour and Employment Minister said the UPA government would come out with a revised project in a big way at Paradip.
Mr Sahu said he had requested the Prime Minister to come to Orissa and lay the foundation stone of the project which would fulfill the aspiration of the people of the state.
To a question, the Union Minister said the controversy over the setting up of Indian Institute of Science(IIS) in Bhubaneswar would be put to rest as the Prime Minister and the HRD Minister had given positive indication to his representation.
Friday, May 19, 2006
Sunday, May 14, 2006
Deccan Herald » National » Detailed Story
Centre to create more IIT-like institutes
DH News Service New Delhi:
This was indicated by Planning Commission Deputy Chairperson Montek Singh Ahluwalia on Thursday at a function here to celebrate Technology Day, which commemorates the 1998 Pokhran tests.
To meet the burgeoning demands for human resources in the global market, the Centre plans to create more world-class institutes like the Indian Institute of Technology, in the 11th plan that will begin in 2007.
This was indicated by Planning Commission Deputy Chairperson Montek Singh Ahluwalia on Thursday at a function here to celebrate Technology Day, which commemorates the 1998 Pokhran tests.
“Many more IITs should be created to expand our capacity for creating skilled people. We are paying a lot of attention to have new IITs, in the 11th plan,” Dr Ahluwalia said, adding that the Centre would prefer to create new institutes rather than rename or upgrade the existing institutes.
He said that as many as 98 per cent of the country’s children enroll in primary schools, but typically, half of them drop out before completing the primary school programme. The same cycle of enrollments and dropouts continues in the school and at the higher secondary level.
As a result, only eight per cent out of the original 98 per cent emerges for higher education, Dr Ahluwalia said, adding that the Centre was striving to get at least 20 per cent of the country’s school-going children to pursue higher education.
Chairman of the Prime Minister’s National Knowledge Commission Sam Pitroda said the commission too supports the idea of increasing the numbers of schools and colleges in the country. He added that the involvement of the private sector in education should also be increased, but this should be done without compromising on quality, as in the Chhattisgarh experience, where private educational institutes had mushroomed without caring much for quality.
Mr Pitroda expressed concern over the quality of education in most schools and colleges. Highlighting the knowledge industry’s complaint that a large number of graduates are unemployable, he said that out of 90,000 MBAs who graduate every year, only 5,000 to 10,000 are immediately employable. Investment
“The chairman of Larsen and Toubro has complained that he could not get quality electricians,” Mr Pitroda said, emphasising that more investment was required in the field of education, research and manufacturing, as in the case of China.
The Planning Commission has set up an expert group under commission member Nitin Desai, to find out if venture capital funds could be encouraged for investments in research.
The Technology Development Board, which currently gives loans to technological companies, could also play the role of a venture capitalist to carry out risk financing, Dr Ahluwalia added.
The Technology Day award was given to the Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech, as well as to Delhi’s Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology (IGIB) for developing a recombinant human growth factor. Two small-scale units in Hyderabad and Chennai also received awards.
Four new technologies, including a herbal drug on allergic rhinitis, developed by the Bangalore-based Natural Remedies, were released by Union Science Minister Kapil Sibal.
Thursday, May 11, 2006
(Thanks to Rabi Mohapatra for pointing to this.)
NEW DELHI: With a view to maintain the flow of skilled workforce, Planning Commission today recommended setting up of more IITs and increasing investment in technology and research.
Given the global scenario of changing economics and technological upgrades, "we have to sustain the supply of skilled manpower. Government should focus on creating many more IITs. Maybe we need at least three times more than what we have now. Simply upgrading the existing ones won't do," Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia said.
Ahluwalia said the country has to rapidly expand capacity to train skilled workforce and build upon the capability for technological development.
Pointing at the high drop out rates in primary schools, he said nearly 50 percent children drop out and only eight percent move on for higher and technical education.
"For India to be a global leader the percentage has to go up from eight percent to 20 percent," he said.
Knowledge Commission's suggestion for more top notch institutions (IITs) and private IITs is a good solution
The Knowledge Commission on Thursday said it will study the entire issue of reservation in education institutions holistically to decide whether the present system of providing access to education through quotas should continue or there was a need for a better system of affirmative action.
"Knowledge society must be inclusive. In the past we had quotas to implement it but in the 21st century we need to look at different ways to implement it. We will analyse what has been the outcome of reservation in the past and where we are as a result of it," Knowledge Commission Chairman Sam Pitroda said.
The majority of the commission members, at their meeting in Bangalore, had opposed increase in reservation in central education institutions as proposed by Human Resource Ministry.
They had said that it was an historic opportunity to craft more effective policies to make education institutions more inclusive.
On Wednesday, the commission members met Prime Minister and conveyed to him their views on reservation.
Pitroda said key to the issue of providing access to higher education would be expansion of universities and colleges.
"At present, just seven to eight per cent of our population under the age of 25 get to go to college. We need to increase it manifold to make India a knowledge society. Why cannot we have 70 IITs instead of just seven. The alumni of IITs can build 10 IITs. It is possible," he said.