|Rediff India Abroad Home | All the sections|
Race for PIO varsity warms up
George Iype in Kochi | June 16, 2006 17:08 IST
There are five states in the race for bagging the exclusive University for the People of India Origin that the Union government has promised to set up.
Even as the Overseas Indian Affairs ministry is finalising the plan, the southern states of Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh have already approached the government requesting that the university be located in their cities. The fifth state in the reckoning is Bihar.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had in January this year announced during the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas that his government was keen to establish a PIO university to meet the higher education needs of non-resident Indian students.
The university has also been mooted to connect the new generation Indians with the Diaspora population through linkages in various education fields.
Six months after the announcement of the PIO university, the ministry is finalising the modalities in consultation with various educational institutions and the University Grants Commission.
"Yes the PIO university is on the anvil. It will be located in India, and we have not decided where it will be. The plans are on full stream and there is no constraint of funds for establishing the university," Overseas Indian Affairs Minister Vayalar Ravi told rediff.com.
Karnataka wants the PIO university to be set up in Bangalore, Kerala in Thiruvananthapuram, Tamil Nadu in Chennai and Andhra Pradesh in Hyderabad. According to MOIA officials, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar met with Ravi demanding that the university be located in his state.
In January this year, the Bihar chief minister had attended the annual conclave of Pravasi Bharatiya Divas in Hyderabad for the first time, and had impressed the NRIs with his presentation on why Bihar also was the most investor-friendly state in India.
"It is a welcome change that the Bihar government has requested the ministry to set up the PIO university in Patna," a senior MOIA official said.
He said demands from the southern states are understandable as the states have a large number of NRIs. "And places like Bangalore and Hyderabad are also trying their best to excel in the field of higher education as the cities have some of the prestigious institutions in the country," the official added.
Kerala is particularly hopeful that since the MOIA minister hails from the state, it has a fair chance of bagging the project.
Kerala seems to have done some groundwork in this regard. Early this week, the MOIA signed an agreement with the Thiruvananthapuram-based Centre for Development Studies for setting up a research unit that would be dedicated to undertaking studies in international migration.
The ministry is supporting the CDS initiative with a grant of Rs 1.47 crore for the next five years. The institute has in the past conducted a number of studies on various aspects of migration, and hopes that the proposed PIO University could be located in its campus.