PIO University to come up in Bangalore

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New Delhi, May 23 (UNI) India's first university for Persons of Indian Origin (PIOs) will be set up in Bangalore in Karnataka, a move which will facilitate the children of Indians settled abroad to study in their home country.

The Overseas Indian Affairs (OIA) Ministry today announced that the Karnataka-based Manipal Academy of Higher Education Trust would set up the 'PIO University," which would offer professional courses in different areas.

OIA Minister Vayalar Ravi told mediapersons that 50 per cent of the seats in the University would be reserved for the children of PIOs and Non-Resident Indians (NRIs).

He said the Manipal Academy, which has been running several leading educational institutions, had been shortlisted from among three finalists who qualified for the last round from among 16 applicants.

The two other contenders in the last round were : The Hinduja Foundation, Mumbai, and the Kadamanitta Charitable Trust, Pathanamthitta, Kerala.

Mr Ravi said the Manipal Academy was selected on the basis of its strength in the areas of land availability, financial resources, experience and vision.

He said the process for identifying an institution to run the first PIO University started in July last year. A committee was constituted for the purpose with the then OIA Secretary Nirmal Singh as its chairman.

Mr Ravi said it would be a Deemed University and it would become operational from academic year 2009.

He said the Manipal Academy would have the right to decide the courses to be offered in the University, but it had to be done within general guidelines already finalised by the OIA Ministry.

The OIA Ministry would have some administrative control over the PIO University as its representatives would be there on the board.

The Minister said the selection process was completed a few months back. But the announcement was withheld in view of the Karnataka assembly elections and also due to a court stay.

Mr Ravi said his ministry was in favour of more such Universities as the government did not incur any expenditure. But it would not compromise on the quality of such Universities. This was the reason why his ministry had applied a rigorous procedure for the selection of institutions to run PIO university.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh made the announcement regarding the government intention to open an exclusive university for PIOs children at the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas held in Delhi in January 2007.

UNI SH LS VC1610

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