India’s Nobel-Laureate in Economics Amartya Sen ended his nine-years-long association with the Nalanda University, first as a Chancellor and later as a member of the governing board. Post his resignation as Chancellor in February 2015 , Sen had criticised PM Narendra Modi, and has publicly lashed out at the BJP-led NDA government since his resignation. Nevertheless, his association continued as a member of the governing board, as he has been a part of the Nalanda Mentors Group (NMG) since 2007, which was headed by the then PM Manmohan Singh with the resurgence of the Nalanda University.
Besides Amartya Sen, former Harvard professor and current Trinamool Congress (TMC) MP Sugata Bose and UK-based economist Lord Meghnad Desai have not been included in the newly-constituted board. They were all part of the Nalanda Mentors Group (NMG), which was discharging the functions of the governing board.
Sources said the governing board has been constituted, with immediate effect, with the following management board: Chancellor, Vice-Chancellor, five members from among the member states (India, China, Australia, Laos and Thailand) which provide maximum financial assistance during a period of three years.
Former bureaucrat N K Singh, who is now a BJP member, has been nominated as India’s representative. Apart from him, Preeti Saran as Secretary (East) in Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), two members representing the Bihar government, one member above the rank of additional secretary in the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD), and three members as renowned academicians/educationists are to be nominated by the central government. They are: Professor Arvind Sharma, Faculty of Religious Studies, McGill University, Canada, Professor Lokesh Chandra, President, Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) and Dr Arvind Panagariya, Vice Chairman, NITI Aayog. Is this approval of new governing board, a tactical restructuring of management by the central government?
According to the sources, the senior-most dean can temporarily dispense the duties of the Vice-Chancellor, as approved by President Pranab Mukherjee. The senior-most dean can take over after the completion of the extended term of the current VC Gopa Sabharwal, which expires on November 24, and in the absence of a new Vice-Chancellor. “This will be a stop-gap measure until the new Vice-Chancellor is appointed,” added the source.
The proposal for revival of the Nalanda University was initiated by the previous UPA government in 2007, and the Nalanda Mentors Group (NMG) was formed for this purpose. Later on, the Nalanda University Act 2010 was passed by the Parliament and came into force on November 25, 2010.