New Delhi: The Cabinet Thursday cleared a bill that aims to revive the ancient Nalanda University in Bihar as a global centre of learning.
Pegged as a symbol of global cooperation in education, the Nalanda University, proposed to be set up in Bihar near the same site where an ancient university flourished centuries ago, will have schools on Buddhist studies, philosophy and comparative literature, historical studies and ecology and environmental studies.
The bill, to be tabled in the monsoon session of Parliament beginning July 26, was prepared by the External Affairs Ministry after the 16-nation East Asian Summit in Thailand endorsed the proposal to set up the university in October 2009.
Estimated to cost Rs.1,005 crore (around $245 million), the university will function as a public-private partnership with funds provided by the government of the member states.
The Planing Commission has already allocated Rs.50 crore (around $11 million) as endowment fund in the form of a special grant.
Announcing the cabinet`s decision, Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni said the varsity would facilitate the revival of Nalanda as a centre of excellence in East Asia and South Asia, reflecting the role played by the university in ancient times.
"The revival of the university will also lead to the Buddhist circuits in India thereby benefiting the tourism industry substantially," Soni told reporters.
The Nalanda Mentor Group chaired by Nobel laureate Amartya Sen will draft the first statutes for the university in August.
The Nalanda Mentor Group, constituted in June, 2007, will exercise powers as the interim governing board of the university for a period of one year or till the members of the governing board have been nominated, says the bill.
The government of Bihar has already acquired about 500 acres of land in Rajgir in the vicinity of the original Nalanda University, and another 500 acres will be acquired soon.