7 New IIMs, 8 IITs, 14 World Class Universities...

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New Delhi, Mar 28 (UNI) As many as 45 new higher education institutions, including 15 schools of technology and management and 14 world class universities, will be set up in the 11th Five Year Plan, it was announced today.

''This is the first time'' the government is setting up so many new institutions costing thousands of crores of rupees, Human Resource Development Minister Arjun Singh told journalists.

The new institutions include eight Indian Institutes of Technology, seven Indian Institutes of Management and 30 Central universities, 14 of them ''aiming at world class standards.'' India currently has seven IITs, six IIMs and 19 CUs.

Besides four new IITs-- in Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan, Bihar, Himachal Pradesh-- already announced, four more will be set up in Orissa, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Punjab, Singh said.

In Madhya Pradesh, the IIT will be set up at Indore, but the location in other States is yet to be finalised, Singh told a news conference.

Additionally, Banaras Hindu University's Institute of Technology, admission to which is made through an IIT Joint Entrance Examination, will be converted into an IIT, he said.

Besides a new IIM at Shillong already announced, seven more IIMs will be set up in Tamil Nadu, Jammu and Kashmir, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Uttarakhand and Haryana.

In Chhattisgarh, the IIM will be set up at Raipur.

The 14 world class Central Universities will be set up at Pune, Kolkata, Coimbatore, Mysore, Vishakapatanam, Gandhinagar, Jaipur, Patna, Bhopal, Kochi, Amritsar, Bhubaneshwar, Greater NOIDA and Guwahati.

Authorities picked locations ''in or near'' large cities to automatically ensure ''conectivity and infrastructure which such universities would need,'' the HRD Minister said.

Singh said each concerned State government was being requested to identify adequate land in or near selected cities and offer land accordingly.

Singh also announced plans to set up Central Universities in 16 States which currently do not have one.

These include Bihar, Jharkhand, Orissa, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Jammu and Kashmir, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Rajasthan and Goa.

This will include converting three existing universities-- Dr Hari Singh Gaur University at Sagar, Guru Ghasidas University at Bilaspur and Goa university-- into CUs.

The government will spend Rs 2,000 crores on the new IITs, Rs 660 crores on the IIMs and Rs 2,800 crores on CUs during the 11th Plan, Higher Education Secretary R P Agrawal said.

Singh was emphatic that establishing IITs, IIMs and CUs was ''subject to State governments offering adequate land at suitable locations, free of cost, for the purpose.'' He made it clear that their ''actual establishment'' would depend ''among other things on how quickly the concerned State governments respond by allotting adequate land at suitable locations.'' In reply to a question, Singh acknowledged the shortage of faculty, but indicated that it would be overcome through recruitment.

Top HRD officials say that India is estimated to have some 500,000 higher education teachers-- roughly 20-25 per cent short of the required number.

Agrawal outlined a bouquet of measures-- which include upgrading training, summer teachers' schools, better fellowships and research facilities and higher retirement age.

Asked if the idea was to match Harvard or Oxford, some of the leading Western academic centres, Agrawal replied the aim would be to do better than what exist.

On delay in pursuing Foreign Educational Institutions Bill, Singh indicated the move was caught up in differences with Left groups which advocate proper regulation of private institutions.

''A dialogue is on,'' Singh told questioners, without going into any reservations the government may have to such a demand, but added that the Ministry was trying to bring the Bill to Parliament soon.

On a controversial Ramayan essay in a reading list recommended for Delhi University undergraduates, Singh said a review committee was going into the matter.

Asked about his bid to reserve higher education seats for Other Backward Classes, Singh responded: ''Please pray for it.'' UNI MJ RP AS1628

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