Founding chancellor and Nobel laureate Amartya Sen is no longer a part of the governing board of the Nalanda University (NU).
President Pranab Mukherjee has approved a reconstitution of the governing board in his capacity as the Visitor of NU, according to a government order.
Professor Arvind Sharma, faculty of religious studies, McGill University (Canada), Prof Lokesh Chandra, president, Indian Council for Cultural Relations and Dr Arvind Panagariya, vice-chairman of the NITI Ayog, are the new faces in the reconstituted board.
Along with Amartya Sen, Harvard professor and Trinamool Congress MP Sugata Bose and UK-based economist and Labour politician Lord Meghnad Desai are out of the board.
“President Pranab Mukherjee, in his capacity as Visitor of NU, is pleased to approve the constitution of the governing board with immediate effect in accordance with clause 7 of the NU Act,” said the November 21 order from the ministry of external affairs.
The move coincides with vice-chancellor (V-C) Gopa Sabharwal’s tenure, which ends on November 24 and the process for her successor is already on.
The governing board has a chancellor, presently George Yeo of Singapore, V-C, representatives of five member countries, including India, China, Australia, Laos and Thailand, secretary (east), ministry of external affairs (MEA), two representatives from the government of Bihar and one representative from the ministry of human resources and development (HRD).
The only member of the mentor group, to have retained his position in the new governing board, as government of India representative, is former Rajya Sabha MP NK Singh. Other countries would name their representatives later.
Sen was with the NU since its inception and was its founding chancellor. He had resigned last year after being reportedly upset over the “delay in extension of his tenure and political interference” despite board’s recommendation for his second term.
NU outgoing V-C Sabharwal said the decision to reconstitute the governing board was surprising.
“It has come midway through the process of appointment of a new V-C, bypassing the chancellor. It was the NU governing board, which was hitherto insisting on fresh constitution of the board. However, it was not done then on the plea that amendments to the NU Act would first need to be carried out. Now, the board has been suddenly reconstituted,” she said.
Singh said though the board had recommended another year’s extension for Sabharwal, it was not found legally tenable following consultation with the attorney general.
Sabharwal had got a year’s extension after completion of the stipulated five-year tenure in 2015.
As per the Nalanda University Act, the senior most dean of NU will take V-C’s charge till a new incumbent is appointed.
The NU search committee had invited applications for the V-C’s post in October. The last date for applying is November 30. The Visitor makes the appointment from the panel of names recommended by the governing board.