Prime Minister Manmohan Singh announced on Saturday Rs 95 crore (Rs 950 million) grant for the development of Visva Bharati as a centre of excellence and the restoration of its pre-eminence nationally and internationally.
"We had appointed a high-level committee with a view to restore the university to its pre-eminence in national and international arena and to reaffirm it as a centre of excellence," Singh, its chancellor, said during the annual convocation at the traditional venue of Amrakunj.
Singh said, "I am happy to announce today that an amount of Rs 95 crore has been sanctioned for implementing the initial plan prepared by the Visva Bharati in pursuance of the recommendations of the committee." Pointing out that the University Grants Commission had also earlier sanctioned 'generous' grants to the Visva Bharati for expanding its facilities, Singh said that there was no dearth of resources available to the university. Urging all in the Visva Bharati to take advantage of this, the prime minister said that as a follow-up of the committee's recommendation, the Archaeological Survey of India has completed the conservation work in the heritage buildings in the Ashram and will now restore the four buildings in the Uttarayan complex within this financial year. Stating that the committee had been set up in August this year to advise on restoration of art works and other building-related issues in the Visva Bharati, he said that those initiatives would help the university to excel further. The prime minister personally handed over Visva Bharati's highest award Deshikottama to seven eminent personalities --- Habib Tanvir (theatre personality), Debi Prasad (educationist), Roddan Narasimha (scientist), educationist and former Visva Bharati vice-chancellor Amlan Dutta, K G Subramaniam (artist), besides Irfan Habib (historian) and India development economist Jean Drez (both in absentia). He also handed over the Gagan-Abanindra Puraskar to artists Sanat Kar and Arpita Singh and the 'Rathindra Puraskar' to scientist Arun Kumar Sharma and mathematician C S Seshadri. Earlier, on arrival at the university campus, the PM inaugurated the Debendranath Tagore museum at the restored Santiniketan Griha by lighting a lamp.