Tuesday, September 26, 2006


Arjun wants IISERs for MP, Kerala

NEW DELHI, SEPTEMBER 26: When Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh lays the foundation stone for the third Indian Institute for Science Education and Research (IISER) in Mohali tomorrow, his Human Resource Development (HRD) minister Arjun Singh is expected to pitch for two more — one in home state Madhya Pradesh and another in Kerala, ruled by the friendly Left.

“The HRD minister has already written to the Planning Commission to allocate funds for the two IISERs in the XIth Five-Year Plan,” a source told The Indian Express.

Sources said Singh, citing PM’s scientific adviser Prof C N R Rao’s recent outburst that Indian science will be finished in the next five years, wrote to the PM that “our universities have dried up and the country left with very few scientists”. He cited examples of smaller countries like Singapore and Taiwan, who have overtaken India in this regard, as said the Government considers science as a budget item, and a non-productive expenditure.

Making a case for the new IISERs, the minister apparently cited Rao’s letter, where he has said the need-of-the-hour is to revive science education and research by building speciality institutions.

As there has been no word from the Planning Commission yet, Singh is expected to cease the opportunity tomorrow when the PM goes with him to lay the foundation stone for the third IISER in Punjab. It may be recalled that after the IISERs in Kolkata and Pune, the PM had expressed interest in setting up the third one at Punjab, months before the state goes for Assembly polls.

However, it remains to be seen how Dr Singh responds to the HRD minister’s proposal to set up the two IISERs in Bhopal and Thiruvananthapuram. Singh, a former Madhya Pradesh chief minister, is keen to “gift” a national institute to his home state and another to his Leftist “friends” who pushed for his OBC quota bill in the UPA-Left coordination committee in May, despite widespread agitations across the country. His bonhomie with the Left leaders is evident as he recently convinced the UPA regime to grant legitimacy to Bengal’s derecognised teachers’ training colleges through an ordinance.


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