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Press Trust Of India
New Delhi, September 18, 2011
Former President APJ Abdul Kalam, one of the key players behind the revival of Nalanda University, has opted out of the project, apparently realising that he has no crucial role to play.
He has distanced himself from the prestigious multi-nation project, citing conferment of Central university status to the institution wherein critical powers like appointment of vice chancellor would be with the incumbent President, sources said.

Kalam, a prime mover of the project since his days as the President, conveyed to authorities his inability to continue as the first Visitor of the university, they said.

With the institution getting Central university status, the Visitor will be the incumbent President.

Setting up of the Nalanda International University by reviving the ancient seat of learning in Bihar has been the brainchild of Kalam since his days as President.

Clause 12 of the Nalanda University Bill, 2010 makes provision for Visitor which provides that the President of India shall be the Visitor of the university.

"It further provides that the President may, by order, nominate any person to be the Visitor and such person so nominated shall hold office for such term, not exceeding five years as may be specified in the order and the person so nominated shall exercise the powers," the clause says.

Besides, there is a Nalanda Mentor Group headed by Nobel laureate Amartya Sen which is looking into the ways to revive the ancient university.

The proposed Nalanda International University, expected to be functional from 2013 with seven schools initially, is based on the ideals of the ancient centre of higher learning.

The revival is taking place under an international initiative by the East Asia Summit, a regional grouping of which India is a member, with the ministry of external affairs being actively involved in the project.