President as visitor of Central institutes of higher learning
President as Visitor of Central Institutes of Higher Learning
The President of India is the Visitor of 126 central institutes of higher learning. This includes Central Universities, IIES&T, IISc-B, IISERs, IIITs, IITs, NITs and SPAs which are under the administrative control of Ministry of Human Resource Development. Some of the other institutes like CAUs, IMU, Nalanda University, NID, NIFT, NIPERs RGIPT, RGNIYD and RGNAU are under the administrative control of Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Shipping, Ministry of External Affairs, Ministry of Commerce & Industry, Ministry of Textiles, Ministry of Chemicals & Fertilizers, Ministry of Oil & Natural Gas, Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports and Ministry of Civil Aviation respectively. The powers of the President as a Visitor of these institutes are defined in their respective Acts and Statutes.
An extract of the powers of the President in one of the Central Universities Act (BHU Act) is as under:
- The President of India shall be the Visitor of the University.
- The Visitor shall have the right to cause an inspection to be made by such person or persons as he may direct, of the University, its buildings, laboratories and equipment of any College and of any institution maintained by the University and also of the examinations, teaching and other work conducted or done by the University and to cause an inquiry to be made in like manner in respect of any matter connected with the university.
- The Visitor shall in every case give notice to the university of his intention to cause an inspection or inquiry to be made, and the University shall be entitled to appoint a representative who shall have the right to be present and be heard at such inspection or inquiry.
- The Visitor may address the Vice-Chancellor with reference to the result of such inspection and inquiry, and the Vice-Chancellor shall communicate to the Executive Council the views of the Visitor with such advice as the Visitor may offer upon the action to be taken thereon.
- The Executive Council shall communicate through the Vice-Chancellor to the Visitor such action, if any, as it is proposed to take or has been taken upon the result of such inspection or inquiry.
- Where the Executive Council does not within a reasonable time, take action to the satisfaction of the Visitor, the Visitor may, after considering any explanation furnished or representation made by the Executive Council, issue such directions as he may think fit and the Executive Council shall be bound to comply with such directions.
- Without prejudice to the foregoing provisions of this Section the Visitor may, by order in writing, annul any proceeding of the University which is not in conformity with this Act, the Statutes or the Ordinances:
Provided that before making any such order, he shall call upon the University to show cause why such an order should not be made and if any cause is shown within a reasonable time shall consider the same.
The President, as Visitor of the central universities, has revived the tradition of the Conference of Vice Chancellors in the year 2013. Since then, the Conference of Vice Chancellors of central universities is held annually in Rashtrapati Bhavan. The Visitor has also started the tradition of holding the annual conference of Directors of NITs and the first Conference of the Directors of NITs was held in November, 2013. The first Visitor’s Conference held at Rashtrapati Bhavan witnessed exchange of 43 MoUs between Industry and Academia and focused discussion on how industry-academia interface can be strengthened. Eminent persons such as Nobel Laureate Shri Kailash Satyarthi, Bharat Ratna Prof. C.N.R. Rao and India’s foremost agricultural scientist Prof. M.S. Swaminathan delivered lectures at the Conference.
Annual Visitor’s Awards for (i) the Best University; (ii) Innovation; and (iii) Research were instituted for the first time at the behest of the President to promote healthy competition amongst Central Universities and motivate them to adopt best practices from around the world. The first such awards were conferred upon the recipients during the Conference of Vice Chancellors in February, 2015 and the second Visitor’s Award was presented during the Festival of Innovations, held in Rashtrapati Bhavan, in March 2016.
The President, as the Visitor of central institutes of higher learning, has laid emphasis on quality of education and international collaboration. To adopt the global best practices, the President has started a tradition of including the Vice Chancellors and Directors of central universities and NITs respectively, in the Presidential delegation during his visits abroad.