A number of leading American academic institutions are interested in collaboration and research alliances
With a law on the anvil to allow operation of foreign education providers in India, a top consortium of research institutions from the US has evinced interest in collaborating with Indian universities.
A delegation of the Committee on Institutional Cooperation (CIC), which represents America's top universities, visited India this week and met HRD minister Kapil Sibal to discuss areas of collaboration and institutional linkages, reports PTI.
The CIC is a consortium comprising universities of Chicago, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State University, Minnesota, North-western, Ohio State, Pennsylvania State, Purdue and Wisconsin-Madison.
"We have come for discussion on collaboration on research and academic programmes. We are a consortium of research universities and we are together for over 50 years. We do lots of things together and we can collaborate with Indian institutions," said Karen Partlow, associate director, (Technology Collaboration), CIC.
She said that the delegation was on a fact-finding mission to explore the areas of collaboration. This was the first meeting of the CIC delegation with Mr Sibal.
"The minister is open to hear specific ideas like what sort of engagement we would like to have in India. We will prepare a detailed plan in this direction and come again," said Ms Partlow, who led the delegation.
The CIC is known for quality research and its advanced research laboratories. Through collaboration, the CIC members increase teaching, learning and research opportunities.
These universities conduct funded research of $6.40 billion every year while the funded research of Ivy League universities and the University of California are pegged at $3.27 billion and $4.38 billion respectively.
“India is interested in institutional linkages between CIC institutions and universities here. This will help Indian universities take advantage of the high-quality research facilities of CIC member institutions,” an HRD ministry official said.
The CIC universities enrol nearly three lakh under-graduate and 76,000 post-graduate students every year and deliver doctoral programmes in 147 areas of study.
University of Illinois, a member of CIC, had earlier helped India set up IIT-Kharagpur and the GB Pant University of Agriculture and Technology. The visit of CIC comes at a time when the government is likely to introduce the Foreign Educational Institution (Regulation of Entry and Operation) Bill, 2010, in Parliament this month.
The Cabinet has approved the Bill which lays down norms for allowing entry and operation of foreign education providers in India. Nearly 50 foreign institutions, including Boston, Yale and Duke University, have evinced interest in either setting up campuses or collaborate on research and academic programmes.
The CIC delegation also met representatives of Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) and discussed facilitating more research students. The delegation evinced interest in sending students for pursuing studies in Persian, Arabic, Urdu, Hindi and other Indian languages.
The delegation comprised Wolfgang Schloer from University of Illinois, Will Glover from University of Michigan, Molly Portz from University of Minnesota, Ken Shapiro and Aseem Ansari from University of Wisconsin-Madison, Terry Webb from Madison Area Technical College and Ms Partlow.
Aviation minister admits that execution of the merger process has not been up to the mark
Civil aviation minister Praful Patel has suggested that the merger of Air India and Indian Airlines could have been better executed but for "a kind of sabotage from within.”
Asked about criticism of the merger, he said, "I concede that the merger could have been better executed and implemented. There has been even I would say a kind of sabotage from within. People did not want to see it to be implemented well.”
“But the basic concept has been going on since the time of JRD Tata. A couple of times well-meaning people had attempted to merge the two as it made business, economic and technical sense,” he said.
"There are no two opinions about whether the merger was required or not. This was not a knee-jerk reaction. It was well thought-out, well-planned and made immense economic sense," Mr Patel said, reports PTI.
He said the merger was done after consulting secretaries and committees.
The minister said that the government took a “conscious decision” based on valid technical inputs. “The intentions were good but maybe the execution has not been up to the mark,” he admitted.
Mr Patel said that the government as of now intends to run Air India as a State-owned carrier.
Asked if the government had any intention of privatising or disinvesting Air India, he said, “I cannot speak about policy until some decision is taken by (the) government. As a personal opinion, I can say that most national carriers across the world have not done well.”
"Considering that, Air India has still come a long, long way and has retained its national carrier status,” he said.
"Someday, the government may take a different decision. As of today, we intend to run it as a national carrier, as (a) State-owned (airline)," Mr Patel said.
On the completion of Mumbai airport, Mr Patel said that though the project was 18 months behind the Delhi airport, when it is completed it would match the latter in terms of being “truly world class.”
"Mumbai and Delhi are not going to be different in terms of standards and state-of-the-art terminals. But Mumbai has a peculiar problem of rehabilitation of a large number of people living in the airport vicinity,” Mr Patel said.
He said that 20,000 slum-dwellers would be rehabilitated in “permanent, very good” houses just two kilometres from the airport.
Steelmaker plans to expand manufacturing capacity at its Karnataka unit to 16 million tonnes
Steelmaker JSW Steel plans to expand its manufacturing capacity at its Bellary plant in Karnataka from 10 million tonnes (MT) to 16MT with an investment of $5 billion-$6-billion, a top company official has said, reports PTI.
"We have decided to expand steel manufacturing capacity at our Bellary plant from 10MT to 16MT at an investment of $5 billion-$6-billion (around Rs20,000 crore-Rs25,000 crore) in the next three-years," JSW Steel's vice-chairman and managing director Sajjan Jindal told reporters on the sidelines of an event.
“We are also looking at investing in infrastructure to develop roads, railways and power plants at our Bellary unit,” Mr Jindal said, adding that the company is presently working on the details of these investments.
“We have already invested close to Rs40,000 crore in the Bellary plant and will continue to invest in Karnataka due to the proactive policy of the Karnataka government," he said. “Our investment in Karnataka is the largest compared to other units.”
"The upcoming ports and extensive railway networks will help industries to grow in the State. The new mineral policy by the Karnataka government is also a positive initiative," Mr Jindal said.
Steel prices could go up, he said, as raw material prices have risen substantially. "There is a huge cost-push because raw material prices have gone up substantially," he said.