Nalanda University Chancellor Amartya Sen on Sunday said the funding deadlock would be hopefully be resolved soon and the university would begin its first session from August.
The Nalanda University (Amendment Bill), 2013 was introduced in Rajya Sabha last September by the Ministry of External Affairs. The amendments seek to provide for the Government of India to meet the university’s capital and recurring expenditure and also to ensure that the university attains a truly international stature and is able to attract eminent academics from across the world. The university’s argument has been that full autonomy must mean complete financial independence. But since the government is putting much of the money, the finance ministry feels there has to be oversight and accountability – a view that has takers even in the MEA.
Sen, who had earlier said the Nalanda University cannot be treated like a central university, said: “It was a misunderstanding perhaps at some level which will be hopefully removed soon. Once it is removed, the process will pick up. Academically, there is no hurdle.”
The university’s governing body, that met Sunday, had demanded Rs 2,727 crore financial support package over 12 years as part of a mega revival plan. During its meet, the body took note of the finance ministry’s department of expenditure asking Ministry of External Affairs, the nodal ministry for the project, why government rules should not apply to the project.
N K Singh, MP and member of Nalanda Governing Board, told The Indian Express: “We broadly discussed three things including funding issue. As there has been an inter-government understanding among 9-10 countries, Nalanda University has to be treated like international university.” He said Rajya Sabha had referred the revised Bill to Parliament’s Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs. A Cabinet note on the new structure of governing body and funding would be sent to Cabinet for approval. Singh said that he is optimistic that the Cabinet approval will put the project again on fast track.
With the first session starting in August, the university management will get into long-term arrangements with the Bihar government to provide accommodation to faculty and students. A request has been also made to provide temporary arrangements to start the school.