Parliament clears Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Petroleum Bill

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New Delhi, Dec 3 (UNI) Parliament today passed a legislation to set up an Institute of Petroleum, named after former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, at Rae Bareli in Uttar Pradesh at a capital cost of Rs 435 crore to meet the future needs of technological manpower in the field.

The Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Petroleum Technology Bill, 2007, was passed by the Lok Sabha today. It was cleared by the Rajya Sabha on November 30.

Winding up the debate on the Bill, Petroleum Minister Murli Deora said the Institute would start functioning from academic year 2008-09.

Participating in the discussion, Opposition members questioned the wisdom of starting such an institute in Rae Bareli which has nothing to do with petroleum. They contended that the only qualification of Rae Bareli was that it was currently represented by Congress President Sonia Gandhi.

The opposition members expressed the view that the Institute could have been set up in petroleum-rich North East.

Saying that the prices of petrol and diesel were not increased as the government did not want to overburden the ''aam aadmi'', Mr Deora said the under recovery of oil comapanies at present was Rs 16, 753 crore due to surging international crude oil prices.

He said with the advent of National Exploration Licencing Policy (NELP) of 1999, there was enthusiasm among both Indian and foreign companies for acquiring exploration sites.

He said an investment of eight to nine billion dollar was expected under NELP-6.

Pointing out that India was now participating in exploration of oil blocks in 15 countries and that the country was now getting eight million tonnes of oil now from this, Mr Deora said his ministry was trying to have more and more such participation abroad.

He said the Institute would start basic undergraduate courses from the academic year of 2008-09 from a rented campus and would offer seven B. Tech and six integrated Masters Degrees and eight M.Tch/MBA and 12 PG Diploma and PhD programmes upon becoming fully operational.

He said it had been designed to work as a fountain head for nurturing world class technical human resources capable of serving the leaders and innovators of tomorrow in the petroleum technology.

Mr Deora said the Institute would have budgetary support of Rs 285 crore and Rs 150 crore would come from the Oil Industry Development Board.

The total recurring expenditure of Rs 280 crore would be met from accrual of interest on Endowment Fund of Rs 250 crore to be created with the contribution of Oil Public Sector Undertakings, student fees, donations and other earnings of the Institute which is expected to be self sufficient by 2015-16. It has been empowered to grant degrees in the manner similar to that of IITs, he said.

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