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Cabinet approves contribution of $ 240 m to South Asian University

The Union Cabinet, which met today with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in the chair, approved payment of India's contribution of US $ 239.30 million to the South Asian University that is being set up by the SAARC member-countries in Delhi.

India's contribution will be around 79 per cent of the total cost of the full establishment of the university until 2014.

As part of its asymmetric commitment to SAARC, India is ready to disburse the first tranche of its financial commitment of $ 9.464 million to ensure that the university is operational in July-August, 2010, an official press release said.

The university will be the first international university to be hosted by India. Its objectives are to disseminate and advance knowledge, wisdom and understanding by providing instructional and research facilities in such branches of learning as it may deem fit.

The South Asian University is meant to be a non-state, non-profit self-governing international educational institution with a regional focus for the purposes set forth by SAARC and shall have full academic freedom for the attainment of its objectives.

The jurisdiction of the University shall extend to whole of India and to campuses and centres established outside India in the SAARC region.

The Ministry of External Affairs is acquiring 100 acres of land next to the Indira Gandhi National Open University from the Delhi Development Authority for leasing to the university.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had proposed the establishment of the South Asian University at the 13th SAARC Summit in Dhaka in November, 2005. The idea was to establish a university that would provide world-class facilities and professional faculty to students and researchers from SAARC member countries.

The Inter-governmental Agreement for the Establishment of the South Asian University was signed at the 14th SAARC Summit (April 3-4, 2007). The SAARC Member States also decided that the University would be established in India.

The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) brings together India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, the Maldives and Afghanistan.

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