Tuesday, June 05, 2007


GANGTOK, June 4: Noted economist and Professor in Jawaharlal Nehru University, Dr. Mahendra P Lama has been appointed as the first Vice Chancellor of the new Central University in Sikkim.

The Visitor of the University and the President, Dr. Abdul Kalam Azad appoints the Vice Chancellor of the Central Universities in the country. Prof Lama was selected from a panel of very eminent and senior academicians and administrators recommended by the Search Committee appointed by the Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India.

Born in Darjeeling and educated in Scottish Mission Primary School, Turnbull High School, St Joseph’s College and Jawaharlal Nehru University, Professor Lama is widely known for his intellectual contributions to regional cooperation and integration in Asia. He became a full professor at a young age of 38 in Jawaharlal Nehru University in 2000. He till very recently chaired the largest Centre in the School of International Studies. He now becomes the youngest Vice Chancellor of a Central University in the country. There are only 20 Central Universities in the country that include Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi University, Banaras Hindu University and North Eastern Hill University.

He is likely to take up this very challenging assignment within next few weeks. Presently he holds a number of prestigious positions including the position of Chief Economic Adviser to the Chief Minister of Sikkim.

Sikkim is privileged to have the first University that too set up by the Union Government. An act to set up this University was legislated in the Parliament in 2006. Chief Minister Pawan Chamling, who has consistently strived to get this very covetous institution to his State, had said in the last National Development Council meeting held in December 2006 in New Delhi that “we plan to make this University a unique institution in terms of physical structures, curriculum, research orientations, faculty recruitments and admission policy”.

Prof Lama is now on a tour to Malaysia on the invitation of the Government of Malaysia as an Eminent International Visitor. He is scheduled to meet a number of very senior Ministers and officials including the Foreign Minster. He will also attend the 21st Asia Pacific Roundtable in Kuala Lumpur.

From Malaysia, Prof Lama will join the SAARC Team of Energy Experts which will visit Indonesia and Thailand under the invitation of Asian Development Bank. Government of India has nominated Prof Lama and Mr Jayant Kawale , Joint Secretary in the Ministry of Power as country’s representatives in a regional Technical Team that would prepare policy documents for exchanging energy in South Asia.

Earlier Prof Lama wrote the report on South Asian Energy Grid for the World Bank funded International Council for Research on International Economic Issues. Very recently Prof Lama was commissioned by the Asian Development Bank and the South Asia Centre for Policy Studies to make an independent review of the entire SAARC activities since its inception in 1985.