THEY HAVE CHANGED THE NAME, NOT THE AIM; BUT BEFOOLED THE P.M.

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Agents of Bengali interest have changed the name of National Institute of Sciences (NISc) to Indian Institute of Sciences for Education and Research (IISER) and befooled Prime Minister Man Mohan Singh in their illicit attempt to hijack it from Bhubaneswar to Kolkata.

Shifting of the NISc from Bhubaneswar having merited intervention of Orissa High Court, the stand taken by the Union Government do strongly suggest this.

In a petition seeking vacation of the stay order, the Union has informed the Court, that, at no point of time the Central Government had “finally” decided to set up an IISER at Bhubaneswar; hence “ question of its shift to Kolkata does not arise at all”.

In the original writ petition IISER does not figure. The writ petitioner has said if Indian Institute of Science (IISc), not IISER. If the Center has not taken IISc to be IISER, why has it mentioned the later? It could have refuted the IISc issue and said that there was no decision at all to set up IISc at Bhubaneswar and technically that would not have been a mistake. But it has not done so. It has used the abbreviation IISER. This makes it abundantly clear that what the Central Government means by IISER, the writ petitioner has meant exactly that by IISc. On the other hand, IISc is also not the correct expression. Translated as it is from an Oriya newspaper, the translator has given this expression to ‘Jatiya Vigyana Pratisthana’, which should have been National Institute of Sciences (NISc) to be correct. The Central Government knows it. Therefore it has not objected to the incorrect abbreviation IISc.

It is therefore evidently clear that the Central Government knows that the writ petitioner has used IISc for NISc, which was the earlier name of IISER.

Hence, by saying that IISER is a new project and it was never decided for Bhubaneswar, the Central Government has only tried to hoodwink the Court on technical ground. It is a classic instance of administration as well as orientation dishonesty. How the Court shall look at it is the prerogative of judiciary, but in public perception it looks like the conduct of a third grade litigant. Whosoever has been handling this matter at New Delhi has certainly damaged the dignity of the Central Government.

However, by taking this plea, the Central Government has unwittingly admitted that it knows that what is NISc is IISc and what is IISc is IISER. This means, it knows that what is IISER presently was NISc previously. Therefore, the statement “No decision was finally taken to set up IISER at Bhubaneswar” will mean “No decision was finally taken to set up NISc at Bhubaneswar”.

We shall se if this statement is based on facts.

In these pages I have earlier dealt with the issue and given proof of how the Central Government had decided to establish the NISc at Bhubaneswar. In its petition for vacation of the stay order, the Central Government has indirectly admitted this. Mark the statement. It has said, “No decision was taken finally”. What does it mean? It means, ‘The decision was taken tentatively’. In other words, the central Government admits to this extent that the decision to establish NISc (IISER) at Bhubaneswar was not ‘final’, but was ‘tentative’.

How and why this ‘tentative decision’ has been changed? Who changed it? At whose behest? How far the change is legal?

The central Government has come forward with the argument that “the IISER is a new proposal to be fully funded under the central scheme and therefore it is entitled to take a policy decision regarding location of the proposed institute”. As shown supra, NISc and IISER being the same, it cannot be said that it is a new proposal.

Change of name, not aim, cannot give an institute newness.

So, it is wrong on part of the central Government to say that IISER is a new scheme. Again, by using the word ‘new’, the Central Government has admitted that there is one ‘outstanding’ scheme. What is this scheme? If the incumbents have the moral guts, they must admit that the outstanding scheme is NISc. They have changed its name to IISER as a trick to transfer it to Kolkata from Bhubaneswar.

As regards the location, it is argued that the Central government is entitled to decide it. But it has no entitlement to obliterate the decision already taken in this regard specifically as the composite character of India does not give its Government a carte blanche to act arbitrarily and in detriment to national integration. When Orissa was the earlier choice who authorized Man Mohan Singh to change the location?

In a bid to justify the change, the Central government has said, “The Scientific Advisory Council (SAC) to the Prime Minister, comprising of eminent experts from concerned fields having expertise examined with regard to the matter to set up IISER and advised / recommended on what decision should be taken”.

If it is a fact then Man Mohan Singh is doing a great damage to the nation. Like the Kalapahada of historical legends that had destroyed the places of worship, Singh is playing havoc with education system.

The Laws of the land do not have any provision for the Prime Minister to super-impose a SAC on the University Grants Commission (UGC) and to work according to the advice of the former to the nullification of the later.

Under Chapter III of the UGC Act, 1956, institutes like IISER (NISc) are to be established only by the UGC, which is the only legal body to “advise” the Central Government in this regard. At Clause (ccc) it is stipulated that the UGC will “establish, in accordance with the regulations made under this Act, Institutions for providing common facilities, services and programs for a group of Universities or for the Universities in general and maintain such Institutions or provide for their maintenance by allocating and, disbursing out of the Fund of the Commission such grants as the Commission may deem necessary”.

UGC is the legal body to “advise the Central Government or any State Government on the allocation of any grants to Universities for any general or specified purpose out of the Consolidated Fund of India or the Consolidated Fund of the State, as the case may be”.(Clause-e)

Hence, it is only the UGC that can establish and maintain institutes like the IISER(NISc) and advise the Central Government to allocate funds for the same from the Consolidated Fund of the Country. None else.

If any authority seeks any advice on establishment of any University or expansion activities of any University, it is required to seek advice of the UGC as contemplated under Clauses (f) and (g) and the UGC in that case shall advise accordingly.

The NISc as well as its new avatar IISER are University-linked institutions, programmed to be developed into Deemed Universities in course of time. If the Prime Minister had to seek any advice in this regard, he was bound under the Law to seek the advice of the UGC only. But he did not do so. He sought the guidance from the so-called SAC and cleared IISER for Kolkata.

Why did he do like this? Answer is very simple. The Bengali lobby knew that the UGC had decided to set up NISc at Bhubaneswar at the first instance and to think of Kolkata later along with other possible places. Look at its language:

“In view of the above, it has been decided to establish initially four National Institutes of Sciences in the proximity of the following four Universities, in the four regions of the Country. These Institutes (NISc’s) would be established at Pune near Pune University, at Allahabad near the Allahabad University, at Chennai near the Anna University and at Bhubaneswar in close proximity of the Utkal University. In future, many more such institutes could be set up possibly at places such as Calcutta, Chandigarh etc.”. (Para 3.5 of Chapter-1, Detailed Project Report on NISc, Feb.2004.)

From the UGC document as quoted above, it can be seen that it was decided to set up a NISc at Bhubaneswar to be operated by July 2005 (Ibid, Executive Summary) )

Kolkata was not in the agenda. The priority list that included Bhubaneswar and rejected Kolkata was “a result of collective wishdom of a large number of eminent practicing scientists, science educators, who are not only intimately aware of the ills of the present system but also of the exacting needs of the emerging scenario” (Ibid, ch.18))

It is unfortunate that Prime Minister Man Mohan Singh has allowed himself to dance to the tune of the Bengali lobby and has sabotaged the “collective wisdom of a large number of eminent practicing scientists, science educators” as noted above, to the detriment of the climate of science education in the Country.

The Scientific Policy Resolution passed by our Parliament in 1958 “to take energetic steps with all possible speed for making available in the country an adequate supply of scientists of the highest quality was not implemented in its true spirit”, lamented UGC, marking the sorry state of affairs as “science education (was) unfortunately left to places and people who were totally incapable “ of understanding the importance of science education. It had summed up its observation by quoting a relevant report that said,”The standard of science education are falling alarmingly and if something drastic is not done soon to remedy the situation, the country is surely heading for a disaster”. (Ibid, Ch.18) By dancing to the tune of the Bengali lobby, Mr. Singh has precipitated this disaster.

The Bengali lobby had not allowed the 2003 “decision” to proceed and finally has sabotaged it by using a Prime Minister who it seems is willing to crawl in order to save his chair.

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