Posts filed under ‘Educational Policy’

Supporting the demand for establishment of an Indian Institute of Management at Sambalpur city

To,

Honorable HRD Minister Shri Kapil Sibal

CC: 

Mr. Naveen Patnaik, honorable Chief Minister, Odisha
Honorable MPs, Odisha
Journalists and Intelligentsia  

Sub: Supporting the demand of establishment of an Indian Institute of Management at Sambalpur city
 
Dear honorable Shri Sibalji,

MHRD and other central Govt. ministries have been establishing various centrally funded institutions in Odisha to make it a developed state. However, most of the centrally funded institution viz. National Institute of Science Education and Research (NISER), Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT), All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), and railway medical college are located in Bhubaneswar. So far, the state govt. has not established any centrally funded Institutes in the western part of Odisha.

From decades the people of western Odisha have been demanding the establishment of centrally funded institutes. But nothing is happening as Orissa govt. is continuing to be capital-centric by proposing new central governments institutes in the capital region. However, in principle, it should happen like it is happening in various developed states of India (viz. Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Maharastra, etc). I wish Odisha should follow the example of developed states of our country.
 
As reported by media Shri Amarnath Pradhan, honourable MP has raised the issue of Indian Institute of Management (IIM) in Lok Sabha and demanded its establishment in Sambalpur city [1].  This demand is genuine. I wholeheartedly support the demand of Shri Amarnath Pradhan, honourable MP.
 
Sir,

Kindly, consider the proposal for establishing an IIM at Sambalpur city; which is well connected to all districts of Orissa and all  cities of India.
 
The Sambalpur city of western Odisha is sandwiched between Burla and Jharsuguda. Burla-Sambalpur-Jharsuguda region is emerging as a knowledge hub and establishing such an institute will help in cross-fertilization of ideas among the scientists, economists and scholars of humanities and social sciences.
 
Beside that Burla-Sambalpur-Jharsuguda area has many advantages viz.
 
· Burla-Sambalpur-Jharsuguda area is well connected to most of the regions in the state and emerging as a central location for on going industrial activities in Odisha such as Sambalpur – Angul – Cuttack – Bhubaneswar belt, Sambalpur-Jharsuguda-Rourkela belt, Jharsuguda – Sambalpur – Lanjigarh – Rayagada – Koraput belt, and Sambalpur – Jharsuguda – Korba – Bilaspur-Raipur belt. Apart from the existing Industries, several major industries are coming up in this region including Vedanta Aluminum in Jharsuguda. These Industries will provide an extremely good environment to the students and staffs of Indian Institute of Management for carrying out various management related consulting projects and student internships. 
 
· Sambalpur and Rourkela city area are two major metropolitan areas of the state. Burla-Sambalpur-Jharsuguda is more accessible for students from all the districts of western Orissa.

· The AAI is taking initiatives to establish an airport in Jharsuguda (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jharsuguda_Airport). Moreover, this area is well connected to Bhubaneswar, Rourkela, Kolkata, Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi, Vishakhapatnam, Raipur, Nagpur, Ranchi, and Mumbai by rail.
 
· The Burla-Sambalpur-Jharsuguda area has all the necessary amenities like road connectivity, hotels, malls, restaurants, bookshops and parks which will definitely attract world class faculties for this Institute.
 
 
Therefore, the central govt should establish the Indian Institute of Management at Sambalpur city of western Odisha.
 
Thank you and best regards,
 
Sanjib
 
References:
1. http://www.tathya.in/news/story.asp?sno=4395, http://wp.me/pFC4h-G6


Dr. Sanjib Kumar Karmee, PhD
Department of Biotechnology
Delft University of Technology
Julianalaan 136, 2628 BL Delft,
The Netherlands

August 5, 2010 at 5:08 pm Leave a comment

MP demands IIM at Sambalpur, Orissa

Following report is from The Samaj:

August 4, 2010 at 7:10 pm 1 comment

State universities of India need to have greater freedom: Kapil Sibal

Following is a report from http://economictimes.indiatimes.com:

How will innovation universities change higher education?

We have not adopted a top-down approach, ours is a bottom-up one. So far we have spoken of inclusive agenda of development, we are now thinking in terms of an inclusive education agenda. The idea is to empower institutions at the base of the pyramid. State universities are the foundation of higher education segment. State universities need to have greater freedom so confirm to realities of 21st century. The Centre is willing to give a helping hand.

Is that all required to improve institutions?

There is proposal to help state universities, which make up bulk of higher education segment. The Centre can help by giving more funds to strengthen these universities. This would help build infrastructure and quality. But state governments need to step up and provide policy framework. This framework will give universities more freedom. UGC can make grants beyond what it already does. But state governments must allow for more freedom so that state universities can transform themselves.

Are state only expected to provide for a more liberal policy framework?

Over the years, the Centre’s share of expenditure in public education has increased, while states’ share has come down. This mismatch should be corrected.

Many institutions suggest quality can be improved with freedom in admissions policy…

There should be democracy. An institution should have the right to decide on what basis it wants to admit students. At the same time there should not be unnecessary pressure on students. So some institutes can decide to admit on the basis of Class XII results — on the basis of merit. While other institutes could admit on the basis of the national aptitude test, or look at the aptitude test as an add on. There is also the option of add on subject tests. So the class XII results determine subject knowledge, aptitude tests will assess raw intelligence, and add on tests will assess special knowledge.

So each institute can determine the basis on which they admit, rather than doing so through individual entrance tests. The idea is to reduce tests, while still giving each institute the freedom to admit students that fit in with the specific focus of the institute. Let me give an example, what is the difference between Yale and Harvard law Schools. Yale is focused on research while Harvard is more business minded, so corporate law is a focus. So in their admissions policy they would show a preference for those who fit in to their respective focus areas.

Will this make the education system more inclusive?

Right now we have entrance exams to exclude students, to keep some people out. I want to reduce stress for students, but also exclude exclusion. If we were a more mature system, I would say that interviews would be the final basis of deciding who gets admitted and who doesn’t. But we are not mature enough. Allowing for discretion would not help. So I want to put in place a system that doesn’t give space for discretion.

July 27, 2010 at 5:31 pm Leave a comment

Concept note on establishment of 14 innovation universities aiming at world class standards

Click here to read the concept note on innovation universities: http://www.education.nic.in/uhe/Universitiesconceptnote.pdf

July 15, 2010 at 6:10 pm Leave a comment

Why Orissa as a state can’t develop?; A report from merinews

Following report is taken from merinews:

The Government of India’s National Sample Survey Organization (NSSO) in a report has released the well-being index of India. The same tell about the quality of life in India. This report has mentioned that six districts of Orissa being in the list of worst twenty districts of India. Rayagada district ranks the worst in India followed by Kandhamal, Nuapada, Bolangir, Koraput and Bargarh, all in Western and Southern part of the state, are ranked at 4,9,10 & 19 from the bottom respectively.
It has been many years since the Government. of India has been pumping thousands of Crores as special budget for the welfare of these districts of Western and Southern Orissa through scheme like KBK. Then how is it that after so many years of huge money inflow into these districts there is no change in statistics? Who is accountable for this mishap? Is the Chief functionary of the state not responsible for this?”
Orissa, one of the poorest of states in the Indian union, is inhabited by more than 24% of tribal population concentrated mostly in North-Western, Western and Southern part of the state. Due to the negligence of all successive state governments, the development of these three patches are far behind the Coastal Orissa tract by any parameter even though these regions are full of minerals and natural resources.
In two occasions, during 1936 and 1948, these tribal dominated Western and Southern regions amalgamated into then Orissa division (precisely the present Coastal Orissa) from erstwhile Central and Madras presidency of British ruled India respectively to form Orissa state in the line of linguistic similarities. But, reality is, till now the native people residing in these regions don’t know how to speak the state official language Odiya, which is practiced in Coastal Orissa districts in particular. Vast region of Western Orissa communicate in variants of Sambalpuri language (also termed as Kosli by some) and with numerous tribal languages practiced by the indigenous tribal population. This leads to poor enrolment in school which encourages Odiya as the medium of education and thus a high school dropout rate is seen in these regions. Students are forced to learn Odiya language in school which is different than what they practice in day to day life.
The differentiation between the then Orissa Division (Coastal Orissa) and the newly added Western and Southern regions is well maintained by all successive state Governments, while allocating funds and in developmental works.
Inhabited by app.50% of the state population (17,899,735 as per 2001 Census) and spread in 28.73% of total land of the state (44,355.4 Sq Km), this Coastal Orissa tract is given utmost priority by all the successive state governments and have been enjoying all sorts of developmental works in the name of Orissa. Where as a vast land with more than 71.27% of the total land area of Orissa state (109,992 Sq Km), and with a population of little above half of the state population is depriving basic needs.
It is pity that present state government too, has done nothing to minimize the gap between the coastal and the rest of Orissa in its decade long rule; but increasing it by concentrating every developmental activity in and around the state capital Bhubaneswar. During this government’s tenure, all the national institutes for higher studies and research sanctioned by the central government are established or proposed to establish in and around Bhubaneswar. Due to this capital centric attitude, common masses refer the Chief Minister Nabin Pattnaik as the Mayor of Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation than the CM of the state.
In recent development except for the Central University, all the educational and research institutes of national repute, such as Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), All India Institute of Medical Science (AIIMS), National Institute of Science Education and Research (NISER), Indian Institute of Information Technology (IIIT), etc awarded by Central Government for the entire state are located in and around Bhubaneswar. This has brought a distinction for Bhubaneswar as the only city in India to have an IIT, AIIMS and NISER at one location.
Central Government has also proposed to establish a National Innovative University (World Class), National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT), ESI Medical College and Hospital, Railway Medical College in Bhubaneswar, and another IIIT in Berhampur in Coastl Orissa, neglecting the rest state.
Existing and proposed Central funded National Institutes and Universities in Orissa:
Rest Orissa Coastal Orissa
1. NIT, Rourkela, Dist. Sundargarh 1. IIT, Bhubaneswar
2. Central University, Koraput 2. IIT – Kharagpur, Bhubaneswar Branch
3. Indian Institute of Handloom Technology, (IIHT), Bargarh 3. National Institute of Science Education and Research (NISER), Bhubanneswar
4. Food Craft Institute, Balangir 4. AIIMS like Institute, Bhubaneswar
5. IIIT, Bhubaneswar
6. National University, Bhubaneswar (proposed)
7. IIIT, Berhampur (Work on progess)
8. Indian Institute of Tourism & Travel Management (IITTM), Bubaneswar
9. Institute of Minerals and Material Technology, Bhubaneswar
10. Indian Institute of Mass Communications,(IIMC), Dhenkanal
11. Central Rice Research Institute, Cuttack
12. Biju Pattanaik National Steel Institute (BPNSI), Puri
13. Central Institute of Plastics Engineering & Technology (CIPET), Bhubaneswar
14. Eastern Regional Language Centre for CILL, Bhubaneswar
15. Institute of Life Sciences, Bhubaneswar
16. Institute of Physics, Bhubaneswar
17. Regional Medical Research Centre, (RMRC), Bhubaneswar
18. Central Fisheries Institute, Kousalyaganga, Bhubaneswar
19. Regional Research Laboratory,Bhubaneswar
20. National Research Centre for Women in Agriculture (NRCWA), Bhubaneswar
21. Ocean Science and Technology Cell (OSTC), Berhampur
22. National Institute of Rehabilitation Training and Research (NIRTAR), Cuttack
23. National Institute of Design (NID), Bhubaneswar (Proposed)
24. NIFT, Bhubaneswar (Proposed)
If you consider the allotment of health facilities in the state the picture of disparities done towards the rest of the tribal regions of the state gets crystal clear. There is just one state run Medical College, viz, VSS Medical College & Hospital, Burla in Sambalpur for the entire Western Orissa, there are state run SCB Medical college in twin cities of Bhubaneswar – Cuttack , MKCG Medical College in Berhampur, a city just 179 Km from Bhubaneswar by Road and 165 Km by train.
Mahandi Coal Field Ltd. (MCL), a subsidiary of Coal India Ltd, a Central Government entity which has operation in Western as well as Central Orissa, is too establishing a Medical College Hospital in Talcher Town, 150 Km from state Capital Bhubaneswar, with state government’s active persuasion. The defense dept has proposed to set up a medical college in Baleswar, another town in Coastal Orissa with a distance of 198 Km by Road from Bhubaneswar.
State government has recently proposed to upgrade Capital Hospital in Bhubaneswar to a Medical College with a hoping budget of 32.5 Crores. It is also been proposed to set up Government. Medical College & Hospital in Baleswar where as the state government is trying to establish 3 Private Medical Colleges in backward tribal dominated Western Orissa in PPP mode since last 15 years through Western Orissa Development Council (WODC) with a financial grant of 5 Crores each. There is no progress seen in establishing these Medical colleges in these backward regions of Orissa.
So, a question instantly arises in mind, “Why private Medical College & Hospital for poor tribal region of Western Orissa, who can’t afford a full meal a day and central and state funded Government. Medical Colleges & Hospitals for Coastal Orissa?” Is this not pure discrimination?
Central and State sponsored Medical Institutions in Orissa
Rest Orissa Coastal Orissa
1. VSS Medical College, Burla, Sambalpur 1. SCB Medical college, Cuttack
2. Medical College under Central University, Koraput 2. SCB Dental College, Cuttack
3. MKCG Medical College, Berhampur
4. Capital Medical College, Bhubaneswar
5. AIIMS, Bhubaneswar (Proposed)
6.ESI Medical College and Hospital, Bhubaneswar (Proposed)
7. Medical College under National Innovative University, Bhubaneswar (Proposed)
8. ECO Railway Medical College, Bhubaneswar (Proposed)
9. Medical College by MCL, Talcher, a subsidiary of Coal India Ltd
10. Medical College, Balasore (Proposed by State Government.)
11. Medical College, Balasore (proposed by Defence dept)
Points to notice that Balangir, Kalahandi, in this back ward Western Orissa, many times have created news in national media for starvation deaths. Low-income people in these backward districts can hardly afford the cost of good health care even for their children who suffer from early death, under nutrition and anemia. As against the State figure of 65 infant deaths per 1000 life births, district like Kalahandi in the Western Orissa had 119 infant deaths.
Prevalence of undernourishment among children is also high in these tribal dominating districts. The health situation is really gloomy if we look at maternal death rates. Women in these households work hard at home, in the fields, bear children and do not get the medical attention while giving birth to children.
Occurrence of malaria remains a threat to the people in the tribal areas. As many as 158 blocks in tribal districts, which contribute 70 per cent of the malarial cases, suffer the worst. Sometimes outbreak of mysterious diseases in these regions takes a heavy toll of life. Poverty and deprivation leave very little money with people to spend on the treatment of diseases and illness.
The state government is earning maximum revenue from these under developed tribal belts through mining and industries. When the industries are exploiting and polluting the region, are opening health care units and educational facilities in Coastal Orissa with state government’s active persuasion. The recent Vedanta group promoted World Class University in Puri- Konark Road with a budget of 15,000 Cr and in an area of 6,000 Acre sets the perfect example. Vedanta Industries Ltd has established two Aluminum plants in Western Orissa, the refinery unit and captive power plant at Lanjigarh in Kalahandi District and smelter plant with captive power plant at Jharsuguda, where as it is opening its 100 bed capacity burn and trauma care unit in Bhubaneswar, which i
s at a distance of 400 Km from Jharsuguda and more than 450 Km from Lanjigarh.

Hundreds of crores rupees received from central government in the name of KBK has become a source of exploitation for the state government. The head quarter of the KBK scheme is at the state capital Bhubaneswar, far away from the problems people are facing in their every day life. This century of exploitation by all successive state government since the formation of the state in 1936, towards these tribal pockets has forced them to shout for a separate state of Kosal comprising 11 districts and a sub-division of Western Orissa. Also, the Maoist guerillas are spreading in rest tribal districts in rapid speed taking advantage of this.

These entire exploitation stories remind the colonial era and raise some fundamental questions about democratic rights in India.

July 15, 2010 at 2:36 pm 2 comments

Vir Surendra Sai University of Technology (VSSUT) results declared in record time

Following is a report from The Pioneer:

The Vir Surendra Sai University of Technology (VSSUT) declared the results of all its semesters for the year 2010 on Sunday, just 17 days after completion of the examinations, claimed to be the quickest time for any technical university across the country. The results are also available on http://www.vssut.ac.in, the university’s website.

Vice-Chancellor Deba Kumar Tripathy thanked all the teachers for their sincere efforts in making this feasible and said this would help the students, especially the final year students, continue their future plans and pursue higher studies.

It is a matter of pride for the teachers and the students of the VSSUT since the Vice-Chancellor, who also was the Odisha-JEE chairman for this year, proved the worth of the Unitary University status given to this college in the recent past and also stood up to its expectations of conducting the JEE as well its own exams as smoothly as it could have been, admitted the students. It is a fact that the VSSUT conducted its all end-semester exams and published its results before the BPUT exams.

While Supriya Mohanty of Civil Engineering was declared as the university topper, the other toppers are Khusbu Patwari in Computer Science and Engineering, N Seetharaman in Electronics and Telecommunication, Arjun Patra in Electrical Engineering, Supriya Baitharu in Information Technology, Dilip Kumar Das Mahapatra in Mechanical Engineering, Pramod Kumar Jena in Manufacturing Science and Engineering and Tushar Ranjan Patra in MCA.

May 31, 2010 at 3:53 pm Leave a comment

Sambalpur University: A premier higher educational institution in the entire region of Kosal

Following is a report from http://www.merinews.com:  (A report by Jayadev Kar)

THE SAMNHALPUR University is the only premier higher educational institution in the entire region of western Orissa, popularly known as Kosal. This University is situated 11km. away from the historical city of Sambalpur. Ten districts namely, Sambalpur, Balangir, Kalahandi, Sundargarh, Bargarh, Jharsuguda, Deogarh, Sonepur, Boudh, Nuapada and Atthamallick subdivision come under its jurisdiction, which is highest in Orissa so far as geographical area covering is concerned.
 
It has got the entire infrastructure to be elevated to the state of a Central University and students, teachers, civil societies alike are demanding this since decades. Located in the foothills of Barpahar mountain range, the University has 4 boy’s hostels and three ladies hostels. Beside this a guest house is also there.
The educational atmosphere is excellent, next only to SHantiniketan so far as the scenario of Eastern India is concerned. According to reliable sources the teaching of MSW here in Sambalpur University is excellent. Students from nearby states like Jharkhand, West Bengal, Manipur come here to pursue there master degrees in Social Work.
 
Though MSW course was launched in the year 2007 but due to modern teaching techniques it has touched the hearts of Students, Alok Purohit, a MSW student stated. Further the department of MSW has signed MOU with Ahrus University, Denmark and Free University of Berlin.
 
The department is also the international headquarter for the “International commission on children and youth”. Likewise the department of English is also best in Eastern India. Every year students get JRF and NET.
 
This year the University has started MA in Hindi to cater the need of the students of Western Orissa and Chhattisgarh. Selling of form has already started in the current year and the last date of submission is 10.06.2010. Though the region is lagging behind economically yet this Solitary University of Sambalpur has been showing the path of success to the students of this region.

May 22, 2010 at 5:39 pm Leave a comment

Prof. Arun Kumar Pujari’s vision on Sambalpur University and Sambalpur University Institute of Information Technology (SUIIT)

Following report is from Dharitri: 

May 21, 2010 at 5:26 pm 2 comments

Defence University for India: An Appraisal of the Proposition by Maj Gen Mrinal Suman

Following write-up is taken from http://www.indiandefencereview.com:

Establishment of a defence university in India was first suggested in an article that appeared in College of Defence Management Journal in 1978. The article evoked considerable interest and was often debated in academic circles of the services. However, there was little progress on ground and the matter lay dormant till resurrected in the wake of the Kargil War. The Task Force constituted in May 2000 to review the Management of Defence observed that there was no synergy between academic research and the requirements of the Government. It felt that advisors to the Government in security matters needed a great deal more information and analysis, as defence policy formulation was a constantly evolving exercise owing to the ever changing nature and increased complexities of security threats and challenges.

The Task Force, therefore, suggested that a National Defence University (NDU) be established to carry out research and impart education. It wanted some of the existing institutions to be affiliated to NDU. It also recommended establishment of a College of National Security Management, Information Resource Management and Maritime Security.

The Group of Ministers (GoM) studied the Task Force report and concluded that university research in India in the field of defence was not managed, funded, or structured effectively. It further observed – “Whereas academic research is carried out more or less in a policy vacuum, official agencies undertake their policy making tasks in the absence of the wealth of information available with the academic community. There is a need to ensure that the Government’s policy and decision making processes are informed by the findings of rigorous analyses and research.” Therefore, it recommended setting up of NDU, which could undertake long term defence and strategic studies, as “the development of country/region specialisation along with associated language skills and studies in strategic areas need to be ensured.”

The Government accepted recommendations of GoM regarding the need to have NDU on 11 May 2001. A 13-member expert committee (Committee on NDU or CONDU) was constituted to examine the issue in its entirety. It visited the USA and China to learn about functioning of their defence universities and recommended adoption of the US model, albeit with modifications to suit Indian needs.

CONDU based its recommendations on the following two primary issues:-

  • Deficiencies in Existing Security Policy Making Mechanism. A primary requirement for the attainment of India’s national security aims and objectives is the existence of an effective and focused policy planning mechanism, which has to be long term, integrated and anticipatory in nature. The committee felt that national security policy architecture with formal processes and structure was needed to provide synergy between academic research in the field of security and the Government’s requirements for inputs for security policy formulation.
  • Training Needs of the Services. There are three training components towards the advancement of military officers in their careers – professional service training, training for joint operations/planning and training for combined military-civil leadership roles in national security policy and planning at the strategic levels. The committee felt that higher education in the fields of national security and security policy was non-existent in India.

CONDU felt that the above considerations necessitated establishment of Indian National Defence University (INDU). Its salient recommendations were as follows:-

  • INDU should be established as a multi-disciplinary Centre of Excellence in the country in education and research on national security issues.
  • The President of INDU should be a serving three-star officer of the armed services and the Vice-President should be an officer from the Indian Foreign Service. The faculty should consist of 70 officers from the armed forces and 65 from the civil services.
  • INDU should have a mix of existing and new institutions. Three new institutions should be created for education and research on national security and technological issues. As part of these new institutions, a new “think tank” for defence and security issues should be established with a focus on policy-oriented research.
  • Three existing institutions should be affiliated to it for award of degrees, while another existing institution should be upgraded.
  • A War Gaming and Simulation Centre should also be established.
  • INDU should accord recognition by awarding degrees, short-term diplomas, and credits for courses undertaken by serving personnel from the armed forces, paramilitary forces and officers from various civil services.

The estimated cost of establishment of INDU was pegged at Rs 226 crores in 2003-04, excluding the cost of land as defence land was proposed to be utilised for the purpose. The total expenditure was proposed to be spread over seven years. See box for the proposed outline structure.

It is learnt that the Finance Ministry has not cleared the project and wants the proposal to be deferred. It feels that existing facilities in Indian universities and defence training institutions can perform these functions with suitable augmentation and fine tuning.

Appraisal of CONDU Proposal

The Task Force had expressed its dissatisfaction at the existing state of research on strategic issues on four counts:-

  • Limited research activities.
  • Poorly managed, funded and structured research regime.
  • Lack of orientation to public policy.
  • Lack of synergy between research and official requirements.

The Task Force, therefore, suggested establishment of NDU. GoM accepted need for NDU purely for long term defence and strategic studies as it felt that ‘policy orientation and synergy between the academic community and governmental functionaries were lacking’. Other requirements like training needs of the services and distant learning were added later on by CONDU.

The primary thrust of CONDU has been that the Indian policy makers are bereft of advice from the academic community of well researched security concerns. It felt that research lacks in policy orientation and hence, suggested new facilities under INDU. CONDU, quite inexplicably, failed to identify underlying reasons for this infirmity. Had it done that, it would have realised that there was no shortage of well-run defence research institutes/centres and competent scholars. The root causes for the malady lay elsewhere, as given below:-

  • India lacks a tradition of long term strategic thinking and policy planning. Even within the Government, there is a total indifference to advance planning.
  • Policy makers are averse to accept external advice as they consider themselves to be fully equipped to take decisions in national interest.
  • Day-to-day routine business takes precedence over futuristic thinking and planning.
  • Individualistic and compartmentalised mindset of functionaries hinders wider consultations and dialogue. They are highly protective of their turf and consider collective decision making as an encroachment of their domain. They decline to share information with others.
  • Functionaries lack knowledge and training to take defence related decisions.
  • Finally, Indian functionaries resent criticism and difference of opinion. They do not take kindly to dissention and expect academicians to toe the official line. That is the reason why all Government-funded institutions get coerced into producing placid and non-contentious research studies. The value of such studies, therefore, becomes suspect.

India boasts of some of the finest institutions involved in research and analysis of strategic subjects in Asia (see accompanying boxes). The Institute for Defence Studies and Analysis (IDSA) and the United Service Institution of India (USI) have commendable track records.  Full potential of these institutions has never been utilised by the Government functionaries. It is not known if these institutions ever failed to deliver when requisitioned by the Government for any specific study/analysis. CONDU has totally neglected the expertise, brain-power and infrastructure with these and other premier defence institutions.

Recommendations made by CONDU can be grouped as follows:-

  • Creation of additional facilities.
  • Amalgamation of existing facilities.
  • Corporate fellowship programme.
  • Distant learning programme.
  • Affiliation of existing institutions.

Creation of New Facilities

CONDU has recommended establishment of some additional institutes. Their envisioned role vis-à-vis available facilities has been examined in the following paragraphs. Creation of new research facilities through INDU ought to be justified only if the envisaged research and education functions cannot be performed by existing institutions.

  • National Institute of Security Studies. CONDU has sought establishment of National Institute of Security Studies for conducting required research programmes on all strategic issues of concern to the Government to enable it to take fully informed decisions.

These functions can easily be assigned to IDSA, which is considered to be the premier strategic and security studies think tank in India. Over the years the Institute has enlarged its focus of research from defence studies to cover issues of national and international security.

The Institute has a well-qualified multi-disciplinary research faculty of over 50 scholars drawn from academia, defence forces and the civil services. Its library has an excellent collection of more than 50,000 books covering national security, defence strategy, international relations, conflict and peace studies and related subjects.

  • College of National Security Policy. Establishment of a College of National Security Policy has been recommended by CONDU ‘to act as a think tank contributing to security policy formulation’.

National Defence College (NDC), founded in 1960 with identical objective, is fully equipped to fulfill the above requirement. The study at the College relates to strategic, economic, scientific, political and industrial aspects of national defence. The scope of study includes an examination of internal and external threats to the security of India as well as possible trends for the next ten years.  Studies include analysis of diverse factors such as foreign policies of other nations, conflicts over vital economic interests or territorial claims and factional, communal or political differences. Formulation of national strategy for various contingencies up to and including the outbreak of war is also analysed. NDC provides future decision-makers with the necessary skills and background for filling senior positions in national security and associated fields.

  • Institute of Advance Technology Studies. As emerging technologies have a profound influence on defence systems and doctrine, CONDU has recommended setting up of an Institute of Advanced Technology Studies at Bangalore in a new campus.

However, CONDU overlooked the existence and potential of Defence Institute of Advanced Technology (DIAT), located near Pune. It is the foremost institute in the field and functions under Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). It has been accorded the status of a ‘deemed university’ in recognition of its academic excellence. Its charter includes the following:-

  • To impart higher education and training in various fields of science and technology having a bearing on defence requirements in general and weapon systems in particular to the officers of MoD, public sector undertakings, private sector and others.
  • To carry out research, design and development activities with a view to maintain adequate standards required for (i) above.
  • To maintain active interaction and liaison with Universities and other civil and defence teaching institutes in the country and abroad for to and from flow of scientific knowledge.

The Institute has some of the best scientific brains in India and possesses infrastructure spread over 500 acres of area. Being under DRDO, it has the added advantage of close interaction between the scientists, field staff and the user services.

Amalgamation of Existing Facilities

CONDU has sought establishment of an Institute of Defence Management (IDM) at Secundrabad by amalgamating existing College of Defence Management (CDM). It has also recommended establishment of a Centre for Research and Policy and a College of Industrial Research and Management under IDM.

Justification for such a recommendation is not clear. An easier and simpler option would have been to exploit full potential of CDM by enlarging its charter and scope. Founded in 1970, CDM strives to be the nation’s leading centre of excellence in developing management thought with a focus on optimising the effectiveness of the defence services. Its vision is to fulfill the need for enlightened leadership, resource optimisation and effective decision making ability to meet the ever-increasing challenges to national security.

CDM’s highly reputed Research and Consultancy Faculty undertakes project studies for the three services and other organisations every year.  The College has three teaching faculties – Faculty of Organisational Behaviour, Faculty of Decision Analysis and Faculty of Resource Management.

Corporate Fellowship Programme

This is also an add-on by CONDU. Fellowship programmes in strategic studies are being conducted by a number of universities, although the standard of research and instructions is certainly not of the requisite standard. The most prudent option is to improve standards in the universities. Additionally, USI can also be assigned this task. Located at New Delhi, USI is an autonomous body and already has a number of Fellowship Chairs for research projects. It has three centres under it, i.e. Centre for Strategic Studies and Simulation, Centre for Armed Forces Historical Research and Centre for United Nations Peace Keeping.

Distance Learning Programme

A separate department called National Defence Open University is proposed by CONDU to impart distant education in various disciplines, although at a later stage.

Presently, a number of Indian universities are offering distance learning programmes in defence subjects, albeit of indifferent quality. USI also possesses considerable experience in distance learning as it has been conducting highly popular correspondence courses to prepare officers for promotion examinations, Technical Staff College and Defence Services Staff College entrance examinations for the Army and the Navy. Every year, 2,500 to 3,000 officers attend these courses. It would be more prudent to streamline, upgrade and expand existing facilities in the USI and the universities.

Affiliation of Existing Institutions

The proposal suggests affiliation of NDC, National Defence Academy (NDA) and Defence Services Staff College (DSSC) with INDU.

NDA cadets get graduation degrees awarded by Jawaharlal Nehru University. NDC is affiliated to Madras University for the award of M Phil Degree in ‘Defence and Strategic Studies’. Similarly, DSSC is also affiliated to the University of Madras which awards M Sc (Defence and Strategic Studies) degree to all students who qualify on the course. Faculty members can register for M Phil degree. The College has six full time and eight part time vacancies for M Phil. Three vacancies are also available to the College faculty for Ph D. Present arrangements are working very well and one fails to understand the logic in disturbing them, except to justify creation of INDU by expanding its role. See figure above.

The Way Forward

The current proposal suffers from the following infirmities:-

  • It fails to take into account the assets possessed by the country in the form of well established research facilities. Instead of exploiting their full potential, the proposal by implication considers them beyond redemption and ignores them totally.
  • It recommends establishment of new facilities, thereby creating unnecessary and totally unwarranted duplication. If accepted, over 135 new vacancies would get created resulting in further increase in Government manpower and related recurring expenditure.
  • The proposal seeks a seven year time frame for the completion of INDU’s establishment. It belies need for urgency. A much quicker option would be to tap existing institutions and develop their expertise.
  • The proposal has been padded with unnecessary trappings to make it look credible and reasonable. As having a defence university only for research may have looked unconvincing, the scope of the proposal has been enlarged to include training, distance education and affiliation of existing institution. Actually, these add-ons dilute the primary objective of the proposal mooted by GoM and weaken focus on security related research.

As seen earlier, deficiencies of the present system are not due to lack of facilities or due to indifferent quality of research. It is just that their potential is not utilised by the decision makers. Take the case of NDC. Despite the lofty objectives for which it was founded, the bureaucracy considers it to be of little value and never sends its upcoming and bright officers for training. As per the list of prominent alumni (as shown on the College’s website), only two bureaucrats who attended National Security and Strategic Studies Course rose to the level of Secretary to the Government of India in the last 46 years. On the other hand, it is a merit-based and highly sought after course for the services – numerous Chiefs and other top brass appear in the list of prominent alumni. It just goes to show that the civil services do not consider it worthwhile to spare their best talent for acquiring strategic orientation.

The most pressing need, therefore, is to change mindset of Government functionaries. Research remains academic and is carried out in ‘policy vacuum’ as officials rarely seek inputs. Security policy planners should be encouraged to seek independent viewpoints. They must understand that acceptance of external advice does not show their inadequacy in any way. On the contrary, it displays an attitude of integrated, collaborative and holistic approach towards long term security assessments and policy formulation. Comprehension of strategic imperatives can only be done in a collegiate manner with inputs provided by various specialists. Unfortunately, critical comments by analysts are not taken kindly by the functionaries. Such a regime not only discourages honest advice but, more harmfully, lowers the quality of research. Competent academicians recoil from such a system.

Synergy between research scholars and Government functionaries can only be achieved by regular interaction and mutual confidence. There is a need to inculcate and nurture strategic thought in body politic. Research institutions can become centres of excellence and vibrant ‘think tanks’ only if their reports are valued and given due consideration.

India possesses research facilities of world standing. Their existing competencies must be harnessed and exploited. Minor restructuring of establishments, liberal funding, focused issue-specific research and greater autonomy will contribute immensely in creating dynamic and responsive environment for the study of strategic security matters. Establishment of INDU at a huge cost to the exchequer will serve little purpose except create additional vacancies and bloat manpower. The solution lies in replacing indifference and apathy of the policy makers by a healthy respect for strategic studies and research carried out by scholars at existing institutions.

May 14, 2010 at 12:25 pm 1 comment

275 nursing colleges to be set up in hilly states of India

Following is a PTI report:

New Delhi, May 3 (PTI) Government will set up 275 nursing colleges to churn out 22,000 nurses every year in the hilly states as part of its drive to address the shortfall in human resources in the health sector.

Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad said improving human resources in the health sector was his real aim over the next five years.

Along with the increase in the number of Post-Graduate medical seats, the government is planning a major boost for nursing education and para-medical staff by setting up 275 colleges in hilly and difficult states.

“These colleges will churn out 22,000 additional nurses every year,” Azad said at a function here.

The health minister said the government was also bringing out a mechanism through which the Centre would directly monitor the immunisation campaign being carried out by the state governments.

He said there was also a need to reign in the population growth.

May 3, 2010 at 5:56 pm 1 comment

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