Indira Gandhi’s birth centenary — November 19, 2017 — may be a good five years away but commemoration plans are already afoot. The UPA government has finalised a proposal to set up Indira Gandhi Centre for Sustainable Development at Somerville College, Oxford University — her alma mater — as a “most befitting tribute” to the former prime minister. A slew of fellowships named after her will be introduced from the next academic session.
Sources said the Finance Ministry has approved an initial amount of Rs 25 crore for the Somerville plan for the next two years. The proposal is likely to be announced later this week. It will come into effect from the academic session 2013-14.
A panel, earlier headed by former finance minister Pranab Mukherjee and backed by the Prime Minister’s Office, had been pushing for approval of the proposal to set up a “dedicated landmark building at Oxford’s new campus”. Aimed at working towards “advancement of research in food security, public health, environment sustainability and global governance” — subjects described as “close to Indira Gandhi’s heart” — the centre will invite Indian students to Oxford as Indira Gandhi scholars.
This “tribute” — said to have been “endorsed” by Sonia Gandhi — will come with a bill of a $ 25 million, including a 25 per cent funding by the Government (Rs 25 crore between 2012 and 2017). The Finance, External Affairs, HRD ministries are coordinating to take the project forward. Oxford would contribute another 25 per cent and raise the remaining 50 per cent fund through private donors. The centre will be set up on a 10-acre site.