Sunday, November 6, 2011

Amartya Sen: Bureacratic delays in Nalanda

Noted economist and Nobel laureate Prof. Amartya Sen has blamed bureaucratic delays for the money sanctioned for the proposed Nalanda University not being made available for use to get the university going. He also

took a gentle swipe at Indian bureaucracy, saying that India is quite famous for bureaucratic control.
Without mincing words, the Nobel laureate told a large gathering at the capital’s Teen Murti House auditorium that while the funds had been sanctioned, it was “difficult to get it out of the kitty”. Asked how much money was needed, he responded by saying, “As much as we can get.”
The university being set up under an international initiative by the East Asia Summit with the ministry of external affairs involved in its setting up.
Prof. Sen, who is the chairman of the governing board of the proposed Nalanda University, was giving a presentation on it here on Friday evening. Asked when the first two of the seven schools that are planned for this university will come up, Prof. Sen said, “We will take charge of the students when we can take charge of the students.”
To another question on when teaching at the first two schools the university will set up will begin, Prof. Sen said, “As soon as we are in a position to move forward. While land for the proposed university has been provided by the Bihar government, it is learnt that those in charge of setting up this institution faced great difficulty in even getting the money to build a boundary wall around it.”
Prof. Sen also denied reports that former President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, who had been taking keen interest in the proposed university, has dissociated himself from the project as its first visitor. He said the decision was that the former President would be the first visitor and thereafter it was to be whoever might be the country’s President, the proposed university being a Central varsity.
However, he said: “Dr Kalam was not approached for six months and then requested to be visitor).” So Dr Kalam wrote to Prof. Sen saying that he felt that the work was intended for the President and had “moved some distance from being President”.
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