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Keeping aside political tension between Pakistan and India, Nalanda University in Bihar grants admission to 2 Pakistani students

Eighty students from Bhutan, Vietnam, Brazil, Laos, Peru, China, South Korea, South Africa, Nigeria, Myanmar, and Japan have got admission in Nalanda in 2016

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Nalanda University. Image source: Wikimedia Commons

Rajgir, September 2, 2016: Ignoring political tension between Pakistan and India, two students from Pakistan have been granted admission at the Nalanda University in Bihar, an official said on Friday.

Nalanda’s officer in charge of admissions Saurabh Chaudhary said: “The university has offered admission to 83 students, including two from Pakistan this year.”

He said of the 83 students from 13 countries, 80 have already taken admission, and the other three — two from Pakistan and one from Myanmar- were awaited.

Chaudhary said: “We have offered admission to two students from Pakistan, both have also informed us about their willingness to join the university but they are yet to report to us.”

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Eighty students from Bhutan, Vietnam, Brazil, Laos, Peru, China, South Korea, South Africa, Nigeria, Myanmar, and Japan have got admission in Nalanda in 2016.

Chaudhary said the students from Pakistan “informed us about the delay in visa clearance that has prevented them from reporting here.”

Nalanda University’s Director (Communications) Smita Polite said the two students from Pakistan will study in the School of Environment and Ecology.

The university had received over 6,000 applications from students of 50 countries from across the world, she said.

Last week President Pranab Mukherjee attended the first convocation ceremony of the university in Rajgir, in which he awarded degrees and medals to students.

Nalanda along with Takshashila, Vikramashila and Valabhi were ancient seats of learning that attracted scholars from all over the world and stood at the crossroads of many civilizations.

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The new university complex of Nalanda is coming up in Rajgir, about 12 km from where the ancient university stood till the 12th century when it was razed by an invading Turkic army.

The university admitted this new batch of students in August and also started new departments — the School of Buddhist Studies, Philosophy and Comparative Religions.

It had started its first academic session in September 2014 in a makeshift campus.

The building of the fully residential university is set to be completed by 2020. It would eventually have seven schools for post-graduate and doctoral students, offering courses in science, philosophy and spirituality and social sciences.

The university is an initiative of the Indian government and 18 East Asian countries. (IANS)

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Indian Government Spent Nearly Rs 4Kcr on Swachh Bharat Info, Education

“The Swachh Bharat mission can serve as a model for other countries around the world that urgently need to improve access to sanitation for the world’s poorest."

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swachhata abhiyan
The government's much publicised Swachh Bharat Mission -- which aims to enhance the level of sanitation in India and make the country open defecation free (ODF). Flickr

To make the Swachh Bharat Mission a success, India mobilised huge resources for information, education and communication (IEC) activities, with a new report estimating that the cash expenditure by the government, private sector, and the development community to be between Rs 3,500-4,000 crore in five years since the programme’s launch.

Of this cash spend, around 20 per cent was spent by the erstwhile Union Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation, around 35 per cent by the state sanitation departments, around 25 per cent by other government ministries, and around 20 per cent by the private sector and the development sector collectively, said the report by consultancy firm Dalberg Advisors.

Under the Swachh Bharat Mission, the government has shown remarkable ability to leverage resources across the public sector, private sector, media, and civil society, to make sanitation a mass movement in India.

In fact, the study estimates that the Swachh Bharat Mission mobilised a spend equivalent worth Rs 22,000-Rs 26,000 crore in monetary and non-monetary information, education and communication activities.

The researchers reached this figure by identifying the key activities and costs by different actors, modelling the number of “exposures” created, and estimating the investment required if the government were to “buy” these exposures in an efficient market.

An average person living in rural India was exposed to between 2,500-3,300 SBM related messages over the last five years, according to the study titled “An assessment of the reach and value of IEC activities under Swachh Bharat Mission (Grameen)”.

Young Indians
Young Indians want to strengthen the ‘Swachh Bharat’ initiative. Wikimedia Commons

A large majority of these messages were routed via newly constructed toilets, mass media, and the

Swachh Bharat logo. Other significant contributors included ambient media such as wall murals and hoardings, and other conventional channels such as inter-personal communication (IPC), digital media, and cinema.

Since the launch of the Swachh Bharat Mission on October 2, 2014, over 10 crore households toilets have been built in the country, leading to a significant improvement in sanitation coverage and reduction in open defecation.

Since 2014, engagement from the top political and government leadership, especially the Prime Minister, induced catalytic participation across segments, giving the cause of sanitation consistent attention and focus.

This translated into a mission mode approach where a range of government ministries, private sector organisations, the philanthropic ecosystem, civil society, and the media and entertainment sector participated to bring sanitation messaging and awareness to citizens at significant scale.

Also Read: Motorola Launches its First Smart TV in India

When Modi visits the US later this month, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation will honour the success of Swachh Bharat that has transformed lives around the country.

“Globally, sanitation-related diseases kill nearly 500,000 children under the age of five every year. Yet despite its importance, sanitation has not received significant attention. A lot of governments are not willing to talk about it, in part because there are not easy solutions.

Before the Swachh Bharat mission, over 500 million people in India did not have access to safe sanitation, and now, the majority do. There is still a long way to go, but the impacts of access to sanitation in India are already being realised,” the Gates Foundation said in a statement.

“The Swachh Bharat mission can serve as a model for other countries around the world that urgently need to improve access to sanitation for the world’s poorest.” (IANS)