Thursday, July 8, 2010

Nalanda University Bill 2010 approved by Cabinet

New Delhi: The Union Cabinet today approved the presentation of the Nalanda University Bill 2010 for the establishment of the Nalanda University in the Monsoon Session of the Parliament at a cost of approximately Rs.1005 crore.

The Ministry of External Affairs has prepared the Nalanda University Bill 2010 for presentation in the monsoon session of the Parliament, following the consensus reached at the East Asia Summit (EAS) held in Thailand in October 2009.

According to an official press release, a project office has been leased in New Delhi for the proposed university. This office will become functional after the Bill is enacted in the Parliament.

The proposed University shall have the following schools:
The Nalanda Mentor Group chaired by Prof. Amartya Sen, shall draft the first statutes for the University in August 2010.

"In order to implement the project, India as the host country will make a significant amount of contribution at the initial stage. The Planning Commission has allocated Rs. 50 crore as endowment fund in the form of special grant for the commencement of activities and till such time the Nalanda University becomes sustainable on its own," said the press release.

The government of Bihar has already acquired about 500 acres of land in Rajgir (in the vicinity of the original Nalanda University site of yore) and another 500 acres is scheduled to be acquired for the proposed varsity.

The establishment of the university would facilitate the revival of Nalanda as a centre of excellence in East Asia and South Asia, reflecting in some measure the role played by the Nalanda University in ancient times.

The revival of the university will also lead to the Buddhist circuits in India thereby benefiting the tourism industry substantially.

In addition to scholars/students from all over the world, the establishment of Nalanda University would benefit the local people and encourage the participation of local communities.

For this purpose, the University would associate with the 200 odd villages in the local area that had a connection with the historical Nalanda University. The university will particularly benefit students from South Asian countries.
The salient features of the Bill include:

(a) The Nalanda Mentor Group (NMG) constituted by the Government of India in June 2007 shall exercise powers as the Interim Governing Board of the University for a period of one year or till such time that the members of the Governing Board have been nominated;

(b) The Visitor of the University shall be the President of India or any other person who may be appointed by the President;

(c) The University shall function as a public-private partnership and the funds shall be provided on voluntary basis by the Government of the member states.

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