Friday, 6 July 2007

Political Apathy Reason for no IISER in Bihar
by Rajkishore Prasad

Nov. 28, 2006

http://www.patnadaily.com/readerswrite/2006/nov/rajkishore_prasad.html



On various occasions, our Hon'ble PM has been speaking on the need of strengthening the status of science education and research in country. Very recently, on Oct. 6, 2006, while speaking at the Platinum Jubilee Celebrations of the National Academy of Sciences, Hon'ble PM again remarked the missing link of research and teaching in science. It will be not out of place to place here our concerns for the downhill journey of science education and research and crying needs of its excellent status for making India a knowledge power

"I draw your attention to this fact because we do see today a disconnect between research and teaching in the sciences. Research has increasingly been concentrated in specialized institutes. The university system is unable to mobilize adequate financial and intellectual resources in support of creative research and development effort. The resulting divorce between teaching and research hampers the growth of the spirit of inquisitiveness and enquiry among students coming out of our universities. We need teachers who will inspire their students by operating on the frontiers of knowledge. Then alone can we realize the full creative potential of our students. I have spoken often, in recent months, about my concerns in this regard. It is my sincere intention to once again restore this link between research and teaching in our universities, especially in the frontier areas of knowledge."

These statements are enough to imbue the concerns of Hon'ble PM to pave the status of science education and research as it is a realized fact that our economic and social growths are highly dependent on our ability to explore area of science and technology (S&T). The whole nation is lacking in S&T skilled human resources with greater crisis of experts in scientific areas. However, such problem is not new, merely, decade's long story. One of the root causes of such chronic problem is sustained dereliction of science education systems by the state and central government that led to such a soft misery.

In the last six months current central government made a history by opening three IISERs (Indian Institute of Science for Education and Research) at Pune, Kolkata and Chandigarh and one NISER (National Institute of Science Education and Research) in Orissa. This shows determination of the government to vitalize higher studies and research in science. Such waves for science education were first seen in 60s and 70s that gave birth of many institutes. However, only three IISERs across the country are like a small drop in the ocean. What we need in India is at least one IISER in every state. The lack of institutes make devoid of opportunity to our young aspirants. Due to lack of institutes selection test or admission tests conducted for limited number of seats in limited number of institutes become an arm for rejection. Candidatures of students are not rejected for merit but due to limited opportunity. If one examines the status of Bihar and its need for such institutes, one can easily say that top priority should be given to Bihar while establishing such institutes in the light of concerns of central government to even the prevailed disparities. In this regard, following points are considerable:

1. Bihar is deserted of National Educational Institutes: In the name of national institute, Bihar has a National Institute of Technology that is in its infancy. It is a well known fact that in Bihar there is not a single institution like Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Indian Institute of Information Technology (IIIT), Indian Statistical Institute (ISI), Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Research laboratories of Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), Laboratory of Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO), Central University or other institutes of national and international reputes.

2. Bihar needs R&D in locality: The sorrow points with existing educational institutes in Bihar are that their research and development activities are either paralyzed or dead. Now Govt. of India has established Knowledge Commission but with what Bihar will join such avenues for national and global race? How a Bihari can contribute in it and take benefit from it? Without research and quality education, how one can think to grow, develop and become prosperous? One may argue that institutes like IIT, IIIT, NIS, IISC, IIM, ISI are accepting students on merit from all over India, and then it does not mean anything wrong if it is situated in Bihar or out of Bihar. In the wide sense, it is acceptable and if a Bihari student comes on merit he/she can get admission, but local benefits will be totally absent. Local benefits of big institutes are numerous and important. The existence of educational institutes of repute in proximity increases awareness among people for the quality education. It works as node for interaction and transmissions of knowledge among aspirants, teachers, and local people. It procures lot of benefits to employed faculties of nearest colleges and universities. The chances of getting higher education and training for faculty members of other local colleges, universities will increase. This will improve their quality and capacity, which will be further beneficial for the students getting education under them. Lot of employed teachers in different universities of Bihar do not move for training program and Quality Improvement Program (QIP) because such facilities are available in the reputed institutes and are far from their working place. The existence of big institutes also improves inclination for research among employed faculties. At present research orientation among college or university teachers in Bihar is very less. If some teachers are active in research, it is painful for them to get research materials. For that, they need to see some institutes in other places like Varanasi, Allahabad, Delhi, Kolkata which are not near. Rushing to these institutes takes time, handsome amount of money and will-power which can not be naturally expected from all the research aspirants. The result of such difficulties is that very few faculty members dare to do research and thus fail to improve themselves and one can not expect quality teaching from them. Under such circumstances, teachers have to rely on their own experience of knowledge which in turn compels teaching to run under the strategy of chalk-talk-rote-routine which is never good in university education. Availability of big institution in locality can tackle these problems and inspire or open eyes of both the teachers and learners.

3. Big institutes accelerate industrialization in the locality: Big institutes attract industries. It can be observed in all places where big institutes are situated. The relation between companies and big institutes of S&T is like that of bee and flower. Companies always like to open their branches near such institutes for technical collaboration. So establishment of big educational and research institute is an open invitation for companies resulting in new job openings as well as local developments.

4. It will help in stopping brain drain (internal and external): The existence of big institute can stop brain drain which is essential for the developing Bihar. Of course, many Biharis are getting higher educations and are doing well in different areas of scientific research, medical, engineering etc. Such people also aspire to live in Bihar and have a plan to do something for their birth state. But there is no place to keep them in Bihar. Big institutions act like a magnet that can keep learned people of the society in the society. Lacking of this, Bihar is depleted of its own skilled human resources as well as of their contributions.

5. Establishment of NISc/IISER in Bihar will be a step to reduce regional imbalance and increase funding to Bihar: There is a great regional imbalance in the distribution of national institutes and national funds available for education to different sates. Bihar is one of the most neglected states. Since independence, there have been developments of many institutes in the southern India in comparison to northern part and they are more or less uniformly distributed. The zone wise distribution of national institutes of reputes is not even.

In one of the analysis done for distribution of central funds for higher education (technical), based on data of 2005-06, it has been shown that Bihar is the least fund fetching state. It is amazing to know that while Central Government spends Rs. 100 per person in Delhi, it spends Rs. 59.5190 in Uttaranchal, Rs. 59.2818 in Arunachal Pradesh, Rs. 43.8686 in Assam, Rs.19.0718 in Himachal Pradesh, Rs. 15.8650 in West Bengal, Rs. 14.1825 in Karnataka, Rs. 10.0440 in Tamil Nadu, Rs. 9.6488 in Maharashtra, Rs. 9.6432 in Uttar Pradesh, Rs. 9.1463 in Jharkhand, Rs. 9.0617 in Andhra Pradesh, Rs. 8.1865 in J&K, Rs. 7.5542 in Punjab, Rs. 4.81 in Haryana, Rs.4.46 in Kerala, Rs. 4.17 in Chhattisgarh, Rs. 2.7 in Gujarat, Rs. 2,29 in Orissa, Rs. 1.46 in Rajasthan, Rs. 1.05 in Bihar (Data 2005-2006) for the technical education. The single cause of such uneven distribution of central fund is highly biased distribution of central institutes across the country. Such imbalance in distribution of Central funds for education can not be described as good sign for the development and integrity of India. However, this point has been noticed by our Hon'ble PM who made public speech concerning this.

In his speech on 'India Science Report' of the National Council of Applied Economic Research on Sept. 30, 2005, Hon'ble PM has shown his deep concern over such regional imbalance which can be imbued from his speech as under:

"Yet, we still have the skeptics, the worriers, and the critics. Some have genuine concerns about change; others continue to be prisoners of the past. Today, when I look back, I am even more convinced that I was correct to observe in my first budget speech in 1991 that the idea of the emergence of India as a front ranking economic powerhouse of the world economy was an idea whose time had indeed come. I had then added, quoting Victor Hugo that no power on earth can stop an idea whose time had come. I must amend that to say that if there is any power that can still stop this idea of a resurgent India, it is ourselves. I believe that there are no external constraints now to India's growth and whatever constraints are there, are internal; constraints imposed by our polity, our social structures, our regional imbalances, our ability to handle inequity, and our ability to take hard, but essential decisions."

6. It is a big political decision: Establishment of NISc/ IISER in Bihar will be a big political decision. In the eye of central government, present educational environment of Bihar is not conducive for the establishment of such institutes. Also, neighboring states are in race for getting NISc/IISER. Unfortunately, our political figures from state are not entertaining the matter. In the light of decision of Central Govt. to promote science education and research people of Bihar should come ahead to make a successful consensus on the issue. The most important point to note here is that none of the political party alone can bring IISER like institute in Bihar. What we need is consensus of political system of the state on this issue. At present, there are many ministers in the central government and if our political system of Bihar become attentive on the issue and tuned together establishment of the IISER in Bihar will be easier. Hope Bihar Govt will take serious steps to bring an IISER in Bihar.

7. Hon'ble President's vision for Bihar: On March 28, 2006, while addressing joint session of legislatives of Bihar and also Bihar Chamber of Commerce, Hon'ble president emphasized the matter of establishment of IISER in Bihar in his 10-points prescription for the development of Bihar

8. Bihar comes under BIMARU state in India Science Report: Bihar shares higher percentage of non-scientific and technical workforce of the country. In the India Science Report Bihar comes under BIMARU group of states and keeps 8.9% of non scientific and non-technical workforce of the country. As per India Science Report 2005, the number of Bihari students migrating to other states for the higher studies in science may be somewhere less than 0.6%. This happens due to imbalance in distribution of such institutes.

Getting higher education outside is costlier and every aspirant cannot afford it despite his/her will to continue higher education in science. Such migration of student also leads to the development of infrastructure to states where they study. The establishment of such institute will increase percentage of students from Bihar seeking higher education in science. The unavailability of institutes like IISER of higher education and research also forbid students from other parts of the country to immigrate here for education. This dispels Bihar from national and international educational streams and state remains known for its ugly faces to the rest the country.

These reasons are enough to justify establishment of IISER /NISc/NISER in Bihar. Consistent negligence by government put our education system on downhill journey which is still in continuation. Amazingly ,It has been argued by many policy makers that Bihar does not deserves for institute likes IISER/NISER on the ground of downhill journey of our higher education system. Opinion like this was of our hon'ble S&T minister when I asked for establishment of IISER in Bihar, however he also opined that Bihar should get an IIISER. We accept that our higher education system is on the downhill journey but when we introspect to find out why, the root causes become ignorance, deprived of opportunities to develop, allocation of central funds on our education etc.

Despite such persistent ignorance academics from Bihar has made great success in many fields. The teaching of science is being done in the local universities but research is partially absent. Research requires resources which are not available. So denial of IISER/NISER like institutes on the basis of our poor research and education condition is totally baseless and is like an old well-known saying in Hindi: Suta na Kapas aur Julaha se Latha Lathi.

Based on such observations Bihar must get an NISc/IISER. Educational history of Bihar is not bad. Bihar has produced many international figures in the area of scientific research. It had global study center in the deep past. It is matter of grave concerns that Bihar went unnoticed for its berth for IISER/NISER in the first phase despite there are several union ministers from Bihar in very important and powerful portfolio including MHRD. Further, the amazing face of the political frigidity of statesmen from the state is that till today no stronger political support has been gained for the same. Nothing can be better indicator than this for vision-lacked politics for the state. Hon'ble President while addressing joint session of our legislators made very honest effort to induce vision for development among our cream politicians in March 2006.

Recent announcements by Hon'ble union minister for state A. Fatami to open an Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Indian Institute of Information Technology (IIIT) and crowning a state run university with central cap is an auspicious sign and is being welcomed by every Bihari people. It will fulfill our long pending demand; however, matter of IISER/NISER is still lacking serious attentions of political system from the sate. Very recently, the scientific advisory council to the PM has recommended opening of three more IISERs, in addition to the existing three, across the country. However, locations of IISERs in waiting have to be decided by the government and hence a big political issue. Under such circumstances only political system can help the sate and if activated can easily snatch from centre. I hope some miracle will happen to bring consensus on the issue among statesmen from the state.



Comments:
According to a report published in the Times of India; between 1980 to 2000, the number of scientific papers from India, indexed in the Science Citation Index, fell from 14,987 to 12,127. But China grew from 924 to 22,061. It has now been universally accepted that a rot has set in terms of interest in science, investment, institutes, number of scientists, scientific papers and their quality showing declining trends in Indian science. In early 1970s, the decline in the university system began - with research shifting to specialized institutes, and the lack of support systems to match the changing face of science, are the obvious reasons for the decline. Amitav Ranjan/Shiv Aroor recently investigated what went wrong with the DRDO and they termed DRDO as "Delayed Research and Derailed Organization". This shows a complete lack of enthusiasm across India.

According to Prof C. N. R. Rao - “There should be at least 100 world class universities in India itself.” “Judicious employment of people, making science more attractive monetarily and a pride in doing research for the country are crucial ingredients for growth of science in India.” To keep pace with the developed world, India has to step up the number of research and development workers by a factor of 12 and to increase scientific effort by 50-fold.” Government of India has realized the need of science and development. Setting up a NISc and IISER are the efforts in this direction. In Bihar, even today 100 years old laboratory experiments are being carried out for B.Sc and M.Sc classes, because there was/is no support from Government of Bihar as compared to West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and others. I strongly agree with Raj Kishore that there needs a big political decision. We all know that Prafulla Kumar Mohanta, the ex-CM of Assam signed accord with then PM (Late) Shri Rajiv Gandhi to open an IIT in Assam after a famous Assam students’ movement. Now IIT Guwahati has started catering to the local needs, has started creating awareness amongst local young talents. 5-10 years down the line, Guwahati will definitely have an advantage of being a place for highly skilled professionals. Such types of institutes (IIT, IIM, IISER etc.) in Bihar may help and provide a big leap in the area of highly skilled workers, which may lend support to entrepreneurship as well. More over, these institutes will provide logistic support to IT, agro-based and various service sectors. Stronger science and technology capacity in country like India and a state like Bihar is not a luxury now but an absolute necessity to participate in the world's fast forming, knowledge-based economy. We should proliferate with such words to our young talents at school level in order to tap our best resources in right direction.

NEGATIVE SIDE: UP, Uttaranchal, and Delhi have lots of good universities, IIT Kanpur, IIT Delhi, IIT Roorkee and various CSIR labs but one can hardly find students from UP, Bihar and Uttaranchal pursuing research (PhD). The reason is there is no motivation from our society, especially in Bihar. “Lack of awareness” and “early settlement in the life” compels many more to leave science in lurch and pursue their lives in other service sectors. Without creating an atmosphere for promotion of science, it won’t help much. Ministry of science and Technology should come forward, form a core team, and then organize scientific seminars in a few select schools/colleges of Bihar. These activities will certainly yield results in coming years. - Dr. Sudhir Ranjan - Nov. 29, 2006
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Let me first put my appreciation for the learned author for timely initiating the issues that Bihar should put in action. Fighting simply in the name of social justice for political ends has done enough harm to Bihar when compared to the growth potential and its needed development. One and all Biharis should support with full motivation. Given the option Biharis from lower middle economic stream can be benefited. A request to all Biharis spread over almost all country's of the world may solve the economic chapter. PatnaDaily should create a platform. - Khagendra Chandra Das - Nov. 29, 2006


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Recently, West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeo Bhattacharya spoke with BCCI chairman Sharad Pawar for Saurav Ganguli's inclusion in the Indian team. Earlier, during Champions Trophy matches, ministers from West Bengal made street protest as Eden Garden was excluded from the scheduled venues. It is a true example of team work revealed by WB ministers for the issues, no matter how much small, so far it benefits their motherland. This is called positive push ups.

The ministers from Bihar known for pushing up idiotic issues like better infrastructure for Shahabuddin in jail and inclusion of tainted politicians such as Jai Prakash Yadav in Cabinet ministry. The man, Mr. George Fernandes, who pushed for Ordinance Factory in Bihar and raised the voice for setting up an IIT in Muzaffarpur, is now kicked off by his best friend, egoist CM Nitish Kumar. Another firebrand Cabinet Minister, who has capacity to move things upside down, Mr. Ram Vilas Paswan is busy pushing up the issues like Muslim CM and cast-based reservations.

Now the hope only lives with Non-Biharis to improve the fate of Bihar. I am referring to the offer made by Singapore and Japanese govt. to build up world class university in Nalanda. Let's hope for similar offer from UN, US, and rest of the world and then students from Bihar will inhale a sigh of relief and breathe with pride in their motherland. - Tarakeswar Dubey - Nov. 29, 2006


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It's a nice article by Dr. Rajkishore Prasad and I appreciate his concerns to raise this issue on PD.

This is to inform you all PD readers and writers that BiharBrains (www.biharbrains.org) have already started initial talks with the government for the demand of IISER in Bihar.

On the basis of talks with S&T minister, Bihar, in a delegation of BiharBrains on March 30, 2006, we formed a 51-member committee (32 from Bihar and 19 from different parts of India and abroad) of which Dr. Rajkishore Prasad, Dr. Sudhir Ranjan, VCs, ex-VCs of Bihar, many academicians, scientists, people from media are members. Core committee has submitted its report to BiharBrains and BiharBrains is now going to submit before the government on Dec 12, 2006 .

Talks have also been initiated with top officials (CM/DY CM) in Bihar and central ministers (HRD).

All PD readers are requested to contribute whatever they can for bringing IISER in Bihar.

Details for this and Efforts taken by BiharBrains has been givrn on website http://www.biharbrains.org/bihar-brains-demand-NISC-IISER.php

Certainly there is a political apathy for not a single research institutes in Bihar.

Now we have hopes from the new government in Bihar to take up the issue and talk to central leadership.

We will be acting like catalysts and will be giving pressure to all political parties, particularly those from Bihar, to bring IISER in the state.

I do request all Bihar-based academicians, NRIs, scientists to contribute for the same. - Bibhuti Bikramaditya, Chairman, BiharBrains, Daeejon, S Korea - Nov. 30, 2006


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Extremely powerful idea to have centers of excellence that will eventually lead to generate social capital. Though the efforts to realize the vision to have such centers of excellence are in the process, can we enlarge our vision for education in Bihar? How best can we connect primary, secondary and higher education? Some strategic thinking- strategic planning and then advocating for the ideas which will help break the vicious cycle that the state of Bihar seems to be gripped in? - Manoj Kumar Lall - Dec. 15, 2006

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