NEW DELHI:After Amartya Sen ruled himself out for a second term as the Chancellor of the Nalanda University, the new era has begun at the prestigious institution, with the newly-appointed Chancellor George Yeo deciding to break away from the past. As a first step, Yeo, who is a former Foreign Minister of Singapore, has set up a five-member executive committee-showing an intention to implement things faster than his predecessor.
The committee, comprising Yeo, Governing Board members N K Singh and Sugata Bose; ex-officio member, MEA Secretary (east) Anil Wadhwa and vice-chancellor Gopa Sabharwal met for the first time on Friday.
After Sen withdrew his candidature as the Chancellor for the second term, the Ministry of External Affairs announced on May 30 that Yeo will be succeeding the Indian Nobel laureate as the chairman of the board from July 17.
Sen had pulled out after complaining that NDA government had sat over the Governing Board’s recommendation to nominate him again. In an essay in The New York Review of Books last month, Sen took a dig at the BJP government, claiming their interference in the autonomy of academic institutions. With Yeo taking over, the government, however, hopes that his tenure will herald a smoother working relationship with Nalanda University Chancellor-which had been rather twisty during Sen’s regime. The former Chancellor, however, continues to be a member of the Board.
Therefore, Yeo’s decision to set up an executive committee has been welcomed by the South Block. “Unlike the Board of governors, the executive committee can meet at a much higher frequency. So, they can take decisions requiring immediate attention,” said a senior government official.
In effect, the executive committee can exercise the powers of the Board of governors during the interim phase -with a final approval to be given by the Board during one of its bi-annual meetings. “The approval (from Board) will be with retrospective effect, so work can start as soon as the executive committee takes a decision,” he said. This is, in fact, urgently required as there are lots of pending decisions which need to be addressed. For instance, the executive committee issued instructions related to accommodation and transport for additional students, who will be joining for the second academic year.