Parliament gives nod to Nalanda University Bill
New Delhi: A bill seeking to revive the
ancient seat of learning at Nalanda in Bihar by establishing
an international university there was passed by the Lok Sabha
The Nalanda University Bill, 2010, already approved by the
Rajya Sabha, would enable the government to set up a central
university in Nalanda, an ancient seat of Buddhist learning,
to attract bright and dedicated students and teachers from
across south and south east Asia.
Minister of State for External Affairs Preneet Kaur, in
her reply to the debate on the Bill, said her ministry had
taken upon itself to establish the university because it was
an international effort from the East Asian Summit comprising
of 15 countries.
Kaur said the centre would provide land for the
university, which would come up through voluntary funding from
the East Asian Summit members.
The Minister informed the House that Singapore had
recently promised USD four to five million for the Nalanda
university`s library through private donations from that
She said the Bill provided only a framework and structure
for the university and that further constitution of the
university and its rules and regulations would be done later.
She also said that the university would in the beginning
have six schools for different studies, but the Board of
Governors had envisaged opening another school for information
"The number of schools can always be expanded later and
there is an enabling clause for it. This Bill is only to
fulfil an international obligation," she added.
The University aims to contribute to the promotion of
regional peace and vision by bringing together the future
leaders of East Asia who by relating to their past could
enhance their understanding of each other`s perspectives and
share that understanding globally.
The bill said that the university would also seek to
understand Buddha`s teachings in the contemporary context and
enhance research for greater interaction between Asian
The Nalanda Mentor Group, chaired by Nobel laureate
Amartya Sen, would function as the interim governing board for
one year or till the constitution of the Governing Board,
whichever is earlier. Singapore`s Foreign Minister George Yeo
is also a member of the Mentor Group.
The university would collaborate with other old
universities, including the Al-Azhar University of Egypt,
Oxford and Cambridge Universities in Britain and Harvard
University in the US. It would also collaborate with China.
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