Chandigarh: Having attracted a lot of industrial investment in the last three decades, Haryana is charting a new course for itself - as an education hub that can boast of an Indian Institute of Management (IIM) and an All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) among other institutes.
"We want Haryana to become number one in education too. Haryana will become a hub of education not only for the country but of the world," a proud Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda told reporters here.
"The day is not far when students from countries like America (the US), England and Germany will come here for higher education. The opening up of these educational institutions will help youth from Haryana to opt for better careers."
With four major projects - an Indian Institute of Management (IIM) near Rohtak, an All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS-II) in Jhajjar district, a Defence University in Gurgaon and a Central University in Mahendergarh district - the state is surely headed towards realising its target.
The projects have been sanctioned by the central government in recent months. The foundation stone of the newest IIM was laid by union Human Resource Development (HRD) Minister Kapil Sibal at Garnawathi village near Rohtak last week.
The Haryana government has given over 200 acres of land at Garnawathi for the IIM-Rohtak campus. Classes for the 50 seats of the prestigious management course have already started from a temporary accommodation at the Maharishi Dayanand University (MDU) campus in Rohtak.
Most projects are coming to districts like Gurgaon, Rohtak and Sonipat - all in the vicinity of the national capital region (NCR) area of New Delhi.
The Defence University sanctioned for Haryana and to be located in Gurgaon was being sought aggressively by neighbouring Punjab but the central government decided, at the last moment, to give it to Haryana. Punjab has been upset over the decision.
These four institutes are not the only ones the state has got.
The Hooda government is going ahead with an ambitious project to set up the Rajiv Gandhi Education City near Sonipat town, where a number of leading foreign and Indian universities and institutes have applied to set up base.
"Several top universities and institutes have put up their proposals before the government. The Education City will be a good success. Twenty-five percent seats in the institutions will be reserved for Haryana students," Hooda added.
It may be a state that has a dismal sex ratio - about 860 females per 1,000 males, but the Haryana government has already set up an all-women university in Sonipat district. The Bhagat Phool Singh Mahila (women) University in Khanpur Kalan village of Sonipat district has started functioning.
"The all-women university will encourage more girls to opt for higher education and excel in professional and vocational streams," educationist Charanjit Chawla.
The central Ministry of Defence has also sanctioned the second Sainik (Military) School for the state to be opened in Rewari district. Haryana already has one of the oldest Sainik schools in the country located at Kunjpura near Karnal.
The institution, where Hooda himself has studied and of which former army chief Deepak Kapoor is an alumnus, recently celebrated its golden jubilee.
One of the biggest projects that Haryana has got from the centre is AIIMS-II to be set up in Badhsa village in the remote Jhajjar district. The AIIMS-New Delhi is the biggest medical and health institution of the country.
The Hooda government has also announced the setting up of three medical colleges in Karnal, Faridabad and Mewat. The medical college at Karnal is in memory of the first woman astronaut of Indian origin, Kalpana Chawla, who hailed from Karnal town.
Four private universities are also being established in the state.