Panel wants non-EAS members on Nalanda university board

Panel wants non-EAS members on Nalanda university board

A parliamentary panel has recommended that New Delhi should invite representatives not only from the East Asia Summit (EAS) member states, but also from other countries to the governing body of the proposed Nalanda University.

The panel’s recommendation, however, contradicts the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) India inked with other members of the EAS on October 23 last.

The Parliamentary Standing Committee on External Affairs recommended that the government should invite representatives of at least two countries, which are not members of the EAS, to the governing board of the international varsity coming up at Rajgir in Bihar.

The panel in its recent report on the Nalanda University (Amendment) Bill, 2013 recommended that the government should invite representatives of non-EAS countries to make the varsity “global in real term”.

The MoU India inked with 17 other EAS countries, however, made it clear that even if some non-EAS countries signed the document in future, the Governing Board’s membership would not be open for them.

The original Nalanda University Act passed by Parliament in 2010 empowered the Indian Government to invite nominees of the five EAS member countries, which provided maximum financial assistance during a period of three years. The government introduced another bill in Rajya Sabha on August 26 last to amend the original legislation.

The new bill seeks to de-link the invitation to the governing body of the varsity with the financial assistance provided by the EAS members. It seeks to empower the Indian Government to invite the nominees of the five EAS nations, with the concurrence of the visitor of the varsity.

The Parliamentary Standing Committee on External Affairs, however, observed that the provision of inviting only the nominees of the EAS members to the Nalanda University’s governing board was “restrictive” and might even be “contradictory” to the “government’s expressed intentions to promote “global inclusiveness” and to encourage non-EAS countries to help developing the varsity.

Though the idea of reviving the ancient Nalanda University with international support was conceived in 2006, it was only in 2009 that the East Asia Summit – a bloc that now has 18 countries as its members – pledged to support the project. India, being the host country, has released Rs 25.28 crore to the university so far.

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