Lok Sabha nod to bill on Bengal Engineering and Science University
The process of converting the Bengal Engineering and Science University in Sibpur, West Bengal, into an institute of national importance got the approval of Lok Sabha on Wednesday.

The National Institute of Technology, Science Education and Research (Amendment) Bill, 2013 was moved by minister of state for HRD Shashi Tharoor and was passed amid din.

The legislation also seeks to transform the university into Indian Institute of Engineering Science and Technology (IIEST).

IIEST will be an institute of international standards and produce quality manpower for the strategic sector and quality teachers for institutions of engineering and science education.

The bill also seeks to establish a common central council for institutes such as NITs, IISERs and IIESTs.

The government had in 2010 taken an 'in principle' decision of converting BESU to IIEST. However, the conversion process got delayed due to several factors which included unrest in the BESU campus.

It had constituted an expert committee in 2005, which had recommended upgrade of five institutes including BESU into IIESTs.

According to the finance memorandum of the bill, Rs one crore has been allocated in the ongoing fiscal for the conversion of the institute.

It also proposes an outlay of Rs 592.20 crore over a period of five years with a stipulation that the sanctioned funds would be on incremental basis after assessing the requirement as part of the annual budgetary exercise.

While the bill seeks a common council for these three institutes, a Parliamentary panel which had examined the bill had, however, objected to a central council, suggesting separate councils for the three different institutes.

It had also recommended that reservation for students of West Bengal to the extent possible may be retained.