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PMO rejects TIFR director’s appointment
MUMBAI: In a first, the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) has rejected the appointment of the new director at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) on technical grounds.Sandip Trivedi

While scientists have termed this government interference, sources said this is the first time in the history of TIFR, the country’s premier scientific research institution, that a director’s appointment has been vetoed by the PMO.

“It has happened,” scientist CNR Rao, chairman of the search committee confirmed to reporters on March 11.

In January, theoretical physicist Sandip Trivedi, 52, took over as the institute’s new director after professor Mustansir Barma, the previous director, completed his tenure in December. Trivedi is the recipient of prestigious awards, including the Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Award in The Physical Sciences, CSIR, Government of India, 2005, and Infosys Prize in Physical Sciences, 2010.

Rao said a similar episode happened with the appointment of a head at the Bangalore-based Jawaharlal Nehru for Advanced Scientific Research (JNASR) that he founded. “There has been no director [at JNASR] for more than a year. They [PMO] want us to repeat the whole process in terms of advertising the vacancy and taking permissions from the government. The same thing is happening with TIFR,” said Rao.

He said it was a “good” search committee that also comprised K Kasturirangan, member (science) planning commission, and Srikumar Banerjee, former chairperson of Atomic Energy Commission. “But the PMO has not accepted the appointment. We have our own rules [referring to TIFR and JNASR]. Restarting the whole selection process [at TIFR] will take six to eight months,” said Rao.

The appointment of a new director is a well-oiled process. The TIFR Council of Management chaired by industrialist Ratan Tata sets up a search committee to select a new head. The committee comprises eminent scientists, who shortlist candidates not necessarily from the institute or the atomic energy establishment. As per TIFR bye-laws, a director is appointed by invitation by the Council with the approval of the central government, Maharashtra government and the trustees. After selecting the candidate, the name is sent to the PMO for its approval.

“This week, I will write to the Prime Minister about many things, including new rules and practices that are coming in the way. I hope the PM will look into the matter,” said Rao.

Welukar takes charge of MU VC's office

MUMBAI:
 On March 7 Rajan Welukar resumed charge as the Vice-Chancellor of Mumbai University after Maharashtra Governor-Chancellor Vidyasagar Rao asked him to do so on March 5. Rajan Welukar

Welukar was suspended and told to keep away from office by the Chancellor following two High Court orders which were subsequently stayed by the Supreme Court.

“Welukar filed a special leave petition in the SC against the high court orders and got a stay. In view of the SC order, the chancellor has now asked him to resume duties as vice-chancellor,” said a statement, issued by the Raj Bhawan on March 5.

This is the first time in the MU’s 158-year history that a vice-chancellor was asked to abstain from office.

The Chancellor had asked the registrar of the university to put in place a search committee to reconsider Welukar’s eligibility. Until further orders, Naresh Chandra, the university’s pro-vice chancellor was asked to officiate as vice chancellor.

While A D Sawant, former pro vice-chancellor of MU and one of the petitioners in the Bombay high court case, said, “The governor should initiate the process to form a new search committee as the Supreme Court’s stay order does not affect his decision to have Welukar abstain from the duty.”

Backgrounder

In December last year, the high court said the search committee which shortlisted Welukar as an eligible candidate suffered from non-application of mind.

Sources said the Chancellor will take a final call on whether Welukar can keep his post, once the search committee submits its report.

The high court directive had came on petitions by Niteen Deshpande and Vasant Genu Patil, social activists, and A.D. Sawant, former Vice-Chancellor of Rajasthan University, saying Dr. Welukar did not have the eligibility to be appointed Vice-Chancellor. He became Vice-Chancellor in July 2010.

The petitioners contended that the information obtained through the Right to Information applications showed that Dr. Welukar did not have 15 years of teaching experience. Even the 13 years of experience he had could not be counted, as his appointment was on an ad-hoc basis, the petitioners’ counsel told the court.

The court allowed the petitioners to produce additional material before the search committee.

One year after, CSIR
is still headless

NEW DELHI: The Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), country biggest research organisation with numerous laboratories in the country has been running without a de jure boss for over a year.

What's worse is that during the  period of these 12 months science ministry saw three science ministers and a candidate was selected three times.

Dr P S Ahuja, Director of Institute of Himalayan Bioresource Technology (IHBT), Palampur who was holding additional charge of CSIR director general, concluded his term on December 31 as the Prime Minister’s Office did not grant him an extension.

According to a ministry source a suitable candidate was identified three times in the last one year but the final selection was scuttled each time.The science minister’s chair was occupied
by S Jaipal Reddy, Jitendra Singh and Harsh Vardhan in these 12 months.

The post of CSIR director general was advertised yet again on December 24 seeking nomination from the public by January 10, 2015.

The last advertisement appeared a week after a conflict of interest charge surfaced against R A Mashelkar, former director general and one of the members of the last selection panel. The
panel picked up biologist Rajesh Gokhale, director of Institute for Genomics and Integrative Biology, Delhi.

Gokhale, however, is also the co-founder of a company named Vyom Biosciences and Mashelkar is the chairman of the board of directors of the firm. In absence of a full time director general, not only are CSIR projects moving in an unguided manner, but several laboratories do not have a full time director either.Dr Suresh Das

After previous chief S K Brahmachari’s retirement on December 31, 2013, a selection panel proposed the name of Suresh Das as the next chief of the Rs 3,700-crore research council but he could not be appointed due to objections from then minister, Jaipal Reddy.

After keeping the process hanging for three months, the search committee was reconstituted and tasked to find out Brahmachari’s replacement. The panel once again proposed the name of Das, who heads National Institute for Interdisciplinary Science and Technology, Thiruvananthapuram.

As Das was not selected, then department of science and technology secretary T Ramasami was asked to officiate.

Following Ramasami’s retirement on April 30, CSIR was being run by Ahuja since May 8, 2014 as his additional charge.

Architect to head Haryana art varsity
CHANDIGARH : A retired chief architect of Haryana, Ashwani Kumar Sabharwal, has been appointed Vice-Chancellor of the State University of Performing and Visual Arts, Rohtak.

Architecture per se is neither a performing art nor a visual art.

Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda who has monopolised all new education institutions for his home town Rohtak, backed Sabharwal for the post.

Sabharwal has been a member of Council of Architecture and Indian Institute of Architects, Mumbai; INTACH. He has remained
chairman of the Plan Advisory Committee, Chandigarh Administration; Director, Haryana Tourism Corporation, Haryana Housing Board and Haryana Police Housing Corporation.

Sabharwal was a member of the executive council of Deenbandhu Chhotu Ram University of Science and Technology, Murthal, for two terms and is a recipient of the Chandigarh Administration’s Certificate of Commendation.

Haryana, it may be recalled, have a long tradition of appointing army officers and IAS/ IPS officers as the vice-chancellors and Sabharwar is an extension of the same policy.

 

 J L Kaul appointed HNB Gharwal University VC

DEHRADUN : Jawahar Lal Kaul, a Delhi University professor of International Trade Laws has been appointed Vice-Chancellor of Hemwati Nandan Bahuguna Gahrwal University, Srinagar.Prof Jawahar Lal Kaul The appointment was announced on November 20 by the Ministry of Human Resource Development, New Delhi.

Prof Kaul was working as the Vice-Chancellor of Vikram University in Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh, but has deep roots in the national capital and has been quite active in the higher education field.

A couple of unfortunate incidents in Ujjain in September this year had left Prof Kaul a shattered person and he had been planning to quit Vikram University since then.

His appointment to HNB Gharwal University top post comes nearly eight months late during which the functioning of the university had come to a grinding halt.

Kaul was earlier working as a professor in the law department in Delhi University and was the Dean of School of Law in the university, before joining Vikram University.

He was also awarded fellowship by International Institute of Public Law and International Law, Greece, in 1990. He was awarded University Grants Commission-sponsored project ‘Globalisation’ in 2012.

He was awarded Hague External programme fellowship in 1990 by ISIL, New Delhi. He was also awarded fellowship by International Institute of Public Law and International Law, Greece in 1990. Dr Kaul has been a fellow of Institute of Globalisation and International Regulation, Maastricht University since 2008.

Dr Kaul has authored a book ‘ Human Rights and Good Governance’ in 2008. He has written many articles in his subject of specialisation and attended several national and international conferences and seminars.

Dr Kaul is member of Executive Council, Indian Society of International Law and president of All India Law Teachers Congress.

P K Radhakrishnan is Kerala varsity VC

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM : Dr P.K. Radhakrishnan, a Professor at the School of Chemical Sciences of the Mahatma Gandhi University, Kottayam has been appointed vice-chancellor of the University of Kerala.

Prof P K RadhakrishnanThe appointmwnt, made by the Kerala Governor-Chancellor Nikhil Kumar, was formally announced on February 22.

A member of the Executive Council of the Central University of Kerala, Dr. Radhakrishnan has been on several Boards of Studies apart from being a Senate member at the M.G. University and Cusat, Kochi. He was a member of the Syndicate and Academic Council of the M.G. University as well.

A native of Karunagapally, Dr. Radhakrishnan had got admission to study Medical Sciences (MBBS) under the open merit category after his pre-degree, but his love for Chemistry made him turn down that option.

He was the first rank holder, both for B.Sc. and M.Sc. from the University of Kerala. He is also a recipient of the Dr. S. Vasudev Memorial Prize in 1991 for best research work from the Kerala State Council for Science, Technology and Environment.

Ajoy Kumar Ray gets second 4-year term at BESU

CALCUTTA : On August 29, 2013 Prof Ajoy Kumar Ray was appointed vice-chancellor of Bengal Engineering and Science University (Besu) for theAjoy Kumar Ray second consecutive term.

BESU Chancellor M.K. Narayanan, approved the appointment, state government sources said.

Ray will remain at the helm of the university for a full four-year term. He had taken over as Besu vice-chancellor in 2009. After his term ended in February, he was given a six-month extension, which was to expire on August 31.

“My priority is perpetuating excellence in engineering education and research,” Ray said, adding that his aim was to upgrade Besu to an IIEST (Indian Institute of Engineering Science and Technology). He has initiated a revision of the master’s curriculum and wants to improve research facilities.

The government had set up a three-member-search committee comprising M. Anandakrishnan, chairman of IIT Kanpur, Srikumar Banerjee, former chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission of India, and Sugata Marjit, the chairman of the West Bengal Council of Higher Education, to select a VC. Anandakrishnan was the Chancellor’s nominee, Banerjee the BESU court nominee and Marjit the government nominee.

The panel drew up a short list of three names, including Ray’s, three weeks ago. The government forwarded the list of names to the Chancellor.

Katoch elevated to Palampur varsity VC's post

PALAMPUR : Dr Krishan Kumar Katoch, Director, Extension Education at  Chaudhary Sarwan Kumar Himachal Pradesh Krishi Vishwavidyalaya,
(CSKHPKV), Palampur has been elevated and appointed Vice-Chancellor ofKrishan Kumar Katoch the university.

His appointment was announced by the state government on July 31. His term will be of three years or till he attains the age of 65 years.

Sources here said Katoch's name was cleared by the Governor-Chancellor of  Himachal Pradesh. Katoch was invited to Raj Bhawan in Shimla on July 31 informed about his appointment.

The previous two VCs of the university, including Tej Pratap and
SK Sharma, had come from the Indian Council for Agriculture Research (ICAR).

Katoch was born in the Jawalamukhi area of Kangra district. He had his school education from the Himachal Pradesh Board of School Education. He did BSc and MSc in agriculture from the Centre of Punjab Agriculture University at Palampur in 1976 and 1978, respectively.

He did his PhD in agriculture, physics and soil physics.

Katoch started his professional career as soil scientist in the ICAR at Almora in UP. He joined Himachal Pradesh Agriculture University at Palampur as an extension specialist in 1987. Since then he has been working in the Extension Education Department of the university in various positions. Presently, he has been serving as Director, Extension Education.

He has to his credit eight books and 29 research publications. He is credited with helping in opening up Kishan Call Centres and Krishi Vigyan Kendra's in Himachal Pradesh.

Waman Kendre to head National School of Drama

NEW DELHI : Marathi theatre veteran Waman Kendre will be the new director of the National School of Drama (NSD), sources have said after aWaman Kendre year’s vacuum and stage-like twists to fill the slot.

The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet, headed by the Prime Minister, picked actor-director Kendre over actress Arundhati Nag, favoured by a search panel of stage doyens, and Abdul Latif Khatana, recommended by the Culture Ministry.

The panel of Shyam Benegal, Girish Karnad and others had shortlisted Nag (56), Kendre (54) and Abdul Latif Khatana (52) in November last year. The panel said the names were in order of priority but specified they preferred Nag, though she had not applied for the job.

Nag works in Hindi and Kannada films and runs a cultural institute. She won the best supporting actress National Award for Paa, playing Vidya Balan’s mother.

But earlier this month, the Culture Ministry forwarded the name of Khatana, a Kashmiri and an NSD alumnus, with sources saying he was minister Chandresh Kumari Katoch’s pick.

Last week, the file went to the Prime Minister’s Office and details were sought about the three candidates suggested by the search panel. “The government must have felt that since Nag had not even applied, she should not be picked. Kendre was next, so he was the obvious choice,” a senior ministry official said.

Kendre is an NSD post-graduate with research in folk theatre of Kerala. He belongs to the nomadic Vanjara tribal community of Marathwada and was one of the leading lights of the Dalit theatre movement in Maharashtra in the late 70s.

Amitabha De is new director of IIM Shillong

SHILLONG : On June 17 Prof Amitabha De took over as the new director of the Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Shillong here.

De was a professor at National Institute of Industrial Engineering (NITIE), Mumbai, before joining as the director of IIM Shillong.

He holds an M.Sc and a Ph.D degree from the University of Calcutta and has widespread expertise in ergonomics, human factors engineering, biomechanics, executive work and work stress, and human factors in technology management.

The post had been lying vacant for nearly a year, since Prof AK Dutta, retired in July last year.

Prior to joining IIM Shillong, Prof De has undertaken various research projects sponsored by Government of India and various industries related to his expertise. He has also taken on various consulting assignments guiding corporate houses and encompassing industries like manufacturing, petroleum, airline, and chemicals. He was also member in two national committees in the Ministry of Labour & Welfare, Government of India.

D N Jena appointed VC of Utkal culture varsity

BHUBANESHWAR : On May 20 sociologist Debendra Nath Jena took over as the vice-chancellor of Utkal University of Culture here.

D N JenaThe post had been lying vacant after the tenure of Amiya Kumar Pattanayak expired in February. Culture secretary Ashok Tripathy had been holding the additional charge of the post.

Reacting to the news, Jena, former registrar of Utkal University, said filling vacant teaching posts and infrastructure development topped his priority list.

Jena, who retired as a professor of sociology from Utkal University (UU) this year said “I will prepare an agenda and submit it to the state government for approval,” he said, adding that he was also looking into the completion of the university’s permanent campus at Madanpur on the outskirts of the city.

Around 26 applicants, mostly faculty members from the state varsity, and some outsiders, had applied for the top post at the culture university.

A three-member search-cum-selection committee including parliamentarian Kapila Vatsyayana, former Sambalpur University VC and Odissi dancer Priyambada Mohanty Hejmadi and litterateur Sitakant Mohapatra had shortlisted three candidates.

Chairman of the State Council for Educational Research and Training Nihar Ranjan Patnaik, and professor of ancient history at Utkal University Sadasiba Pradhan were also in the race for the post.

 

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