*** Latest thoughts on the State University System of Orissa ***

Looking at the university systems in major states in the USA, and looking at the local conditions in Orissa, we propose the following university system.

A. University Systems with branch campuses, constituent colleges (government colleges) and affiliated colleges (mostly private ones)

Consider the following:
  • Our existing universities, especially, Utkal, Sambalpur, Berhampur and BPUT have too many affiliated colleges that hamper their functioning. Our goal is to have 50-60 affiliated colleges of a university or a university campus.
  • There is desire in various parts of Orissa to have university level education available near by and have such institutions spread out regionally. 
  • The government colleges need to be under a different structure so that faculty belonging  to one college can not be transferred to another college; that way they have the incentive to improve their college rather than spending time and effort to secure a transfer to a more desirable location. 
  • We do not want to downgrade any existing university as a branch campus. Hence, even though geographically NOU and Fakirmohan University with 30 faculty each could be part of a single system, we do not want to downgrade either of them.
Although, one can address the above by opening new universities and attaching nearby government colleges to them as constituent colleges, and this was my first thought, I think opening of too many universities with different names will give a wrong impression to the outside world. Also it will be hard to manage too many new universities.

Thus the alternative structure that I have in mind is to broaden our existing universities to university systems and create new autonomous branch campuses. While the branch campuses will be almost like a university in some respects, they will also have a link to the main campus. They will be given enough independence so that they can chart their own future and at the same time they can get help from the main campus when needed. Also, this solves the branding problem. For example, Utkal University at Paradeep, will have less of a branding and name recognition problem than a new university name, say Paradeep university. However, there will be two new universities: Western Orissa University and Central Orissa University to balance the geographical spread and to split Utkal University so as to reduce its affiliate college burden. The following map shows how a university system with a HQ in Bhawanipatna and a system with HQ at Angul balances out regional distribution of branch campuses. The red dots show the system HQs  (which exist now) of 1-5 above. The blue dot corresponds to the proposed university systems HQed at Bhawanipatna (number 6 above) and Angul (number 7 above) which balances the spread.

In addition we plan to have a tribal university system for catering to the large tribal population of the state and a sports university system to accelerate the sports potential of the state as well as to make our sports persons more employable.

This leads to the following structure.

  1. Utkal University System  (New campuses at Panikoili/Kalinganagar, Paradeep, Puri by 2015 and Kendrapada-Pattamundai expected in 2025)
    • Jurisidiction over Eastern part of Cuttack, Jajpur, Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapada, Khurda and Puri districts)
  2. Berhampur University System (New campus at  Phulbani by 2015; Parlakhemundi by 2020; Asika-Kabisuryanagar expected by 2030/35)
    • Jurisdiction over Ganjam, Gajapati and Phulbani districts
  3. Sambalpur University System (New campus at Balangir by 2015; Baragarh by 2020; Jharsuguda by 2020; Sundergarh expected by 2025/30 and Titlagarh-Kesinga expected by 2030/35)
    • Jurisdiction over Bargarh, Balangir, Boudha, Deogarh, Jharsuguda, Sambalpur, Sonepur, Sundergarh
  4. North Orissa University System (New campus at Keonjhar by 2015; Joda-Barbil by 2020)
    • Jurisdiction over Keonjhar and Mayurbhanj districts
  5. Fakirmohan University System (New campus at Bhadrak by 2015; Dhamara-Chandbali expected by 2030)
    • Jurisdiction over Balasore and Bhadrak districts
  6. Western Orissa Univesrity System (New with HQ at Bhawanipatna by 2012 and a campus at Jeypore by 2015; Rayagada expected by 2020)
    • Jurisdiction over Kalahandi, Koraput, Malkangiri, Rayagada, Nawrangpur and Nuapada districts)
  7. Central Orissa University System (New with HQ at Angul by 2012 and a campus in Dhenkanal in 2020)
    • Jurisdiction over Angul, Dhenkanal, Nayagarh and Western part of Cuttack)
  8. OUAT system (New campus at Bhawanipatna by 2015; for geographical spread and because Kalahandi has a strong agriculture base)
  9. BPUT system (Move to the HQ Rourkela as soon as possible and perhaps have a new branch campus by 2015; note it already has about 90+ affiliated engineering colleges, and much more; so a new branch campus is in order.)
  10. Tribal University System (New - HQ at Phulbani and campuses in districts with tribal percentages of more than 40. Those are Malkangiri (58.36%), Mayurbhanj (57.87%), Rayagada (56.04%), Nabarangpur (55.27%), Koraput (50.67%), Sundergarh (50.74%), Gajapati (47.88%) and Keonjhar (44.52%).
  11. Sports University System (New - HQ at Rourkela; campus in Jagatpur in Cuttack district and constituent colleges associated with sports hostels across the state)
The branches will be given a clear path of how to become a full-fledged university after they achieve certain milestones, say based on number of students, number of faculty, number of degree programs, number of affiliated colleges, etc., with the number of faculty being the most important criteria. For example, each branch can initially start with a faculty of 30 (same as the number of faculty currently sanctioned to NOU and Fakirmohan university) and when they grow to 150 they can become an independent university. (The Balangir, Keonjhar and Phulbani branch campuses should be  treated a bit specially and given 20 additional faculty so as to make sure that each of the original 13 districts are taken care of.) The government can have a road map and guidelines on how they can become bigger. Besides convincing the government for additional faculty based on student enrollments and plans, they can do many other things. For example, 
  • They can have self-financed courses and use that money to hire more faculty; 
  • they can get a capital donation for a new research institute/department/program/etc. from an MP (through MPLAD), MLA (through MLALAD), rich benevolent person, or an industry and ask the state to provide the faculty lines for that; 
  • they can   get funded by a UGC scheme and get faculty lines funded by the UGC and also ask the state to provide matching faculty lines and 
  • they can negotiate with a new locality interested in a constituent college and have that locality raise money for the capital cost of the college and ask the state to provide matching faculty lines.
Similar path for growth should be available to the constituent colleges. They should have the ability to chart their own course and grow (as described in the previous paragraph) and when they reach a certain milestone, say  faculty size of 100 or 150, they could be made to a unitary university. 

The above incentives and freedom will make the faculty and administrators at the branch universities and constituent colleges more enthused towards developing their campus and college, respectively. It will also encourage the faculty and administrators to engage the community so that they can get resources from the surrounding community (from the local MLA, MP, industry, etc.) to grow. It will encourage the faculty and administrators to apply and get more UGC funding, get more students, start new programs, etc.


When new campuses are made in an area, depending on the availability of land and other resources in and near an existing state government college in that area, and the local sentiment, the new campus may subsume a college or the college may become a constituent of the university. Some criteria on how to decide this needs to be formulated. A new campus would normally start with a faculty allocation of 30. But if it subsumes a college then its faculty allocation will be the faculty size of that college + 20. A local committee consisting of MLA, MP, District Magistrate, the local College principals and some other local biggies can make the decision on which option to chose.

In general, each existing government college either becomes a constituent college of one of the university campuses or morphs to a university campus.


The system HQ's will have an initial faculty size of at least 75. So the new ones at Bhawanipatna and Angul will get that many lines and NOU and FMU will be immediately allocated 45 more faculty lines to get them to 75.


After 2015, as time passes, and there are other areas whose population gets to 100,000 the university system with jurisdiction over that area will get funding from the state to create a new branch campus there. In terms of a time line, in 2015, various metropolitan areas with 100K population that do not have a branch campus of a university will be evaluated and preparation will start to have a branch campus there by 2020. This process will take place every five years. Some rare exceptions will be made based on regional spread and backwardness.

B. Universities with constituent colleges and affiliated colleges but no branch campuses planned for now

Following are universities for which we do not plan any branch campuses for now: two of them are existing and we propose two new ones.
  1. Utkal University of Culture 
  2. Sri Jagannath Sanskrit University
  3. Skills University - the community college system (New - HQ at some location and community colleges in each districts)
  4. Health University (New)
    • Needs to be made when multiple private medical colleges that are not part of a deemed university are up and running. Currently their is one such medical college (Hi-Tech Bhubaneswar)  and another dental college (Gandhi Dental College, Bhubaneswar). But new ones are being made at Bhawanipatna, Rourkela and Balangir. Once they are all operational  a health university managing all of them may be helpful. 
    • Whether the state funded medical colleges are part of this university or not is something that needs further debate.
C. Metropolitan University 

The Bhubaneswar-Cuttack area has several government colleges. They are: 
  • S.B. Women’s College, Cuttack
  • JKBK College, Cuttack
  • I.M.I.T. Cuttack.
  • B.J.B. College, Bhubaneswar
  • Rajdhani College, Bhubaneswar
  • R.D. Women’s College, Bhubaneswar
  • CITE, Bhubaneswar
  • ISMT, Bhubaneswar
  • MICM, Bhubaneswar
  • CET, Bhubaneswar
We propose the creation of a metropolitan university made up of these colleges similar to Delhi University and City University of New York. The motivation behind the creation of the metropolitan university is as follows:
  • It will allow better utilization of resources and colleges can borrow and lend faculty.
  • It will allow a funding mechanism at the metropolitan level through special taxes levied to people in the metro area and as a result as the metro area grows the system can keep up with the growth by opening new colleges and with much less cost to the state. Currently, this is not possible without burdening the state and sometimes creating resentment across the state.
Hence the following proposal:
  1. Bhubaneswar Metropolitan University (New) The total faculty size of the university will be 50 + the faculty that exists in its colleges. The 50 new lines will be used to seed a graduate school which will be made along the lines of the graduate school at City University of New York.
D. Unitary Universities (with may be a handful of constituent colleges, but no affiliated colleges or branch campuses)

Finally, we have several unitary universities and we propose a few new ones. These universities will not have any affiliated colleges or branch campuses and will be more like the universities in the US in that they will teach Bachelors, Masters and Ph.D under the same roof. Besides the existing ones, based on the number of post-graduate courses offered (see the list at http://www.orissa2020.org/postgraduate-courses-in-various-colleges-in-orissa) we propose that GM College and Khallikote College be upgraded to unitary universities with at least 100 faculty lines each. We propose a brand new unitary university with at least 100 faculty, for Rourkela, the second largest metropolitan area in Orissa that lacks a general university. Rourkela, being recognized all across India, would not create a branding problem for Rourkela University. Finally we propose an Education University at the level of IIIT or National Law University.
  1. Ravenshaw University, Cuttack
  2. National Law University of Orissa, Cuttack
  3. IIIT Bhubaneswar 
  4. VSSUT, Burla
  5. GM University, Sambalpur (Upgrade GM College by 2012)
  6. Khallikote University, Berhampur (Upgrade Khallikote College by 2012)
  7. Rourkela University (New by 2012
  8. Education University (New): Have a university like Ajim Premji University, Bangalore in the field of Education and Education Leadership. (The affiliation of existing B.Ed/M.Ed colleges can remain with the local general university branch.)

Path to making comprehensive universities
: It will be our goal to develop several comprehensive universities that have programs in all disciplines including engineering and medicine. This will be done by making all the government colleges (including medical and engineering colleges) to be a constituent college of a nearby university. This could lead to the following:
  • SCB medical college would then become a constituent college of Ravenshaw University.
  • MKCG Medical College would become a constituent college of Berhampur University or Khallikote University and should collaborate with both.
  • VSS Medical College may become constituent college of VSSUT, Sambalpur University or GM University and should collaborate with both.
  • Any new government medical colleges would become constituents of nearby universities or university campuses.
    • If new government medical colleges are made, one should be near North Orissa University and Fakirmohan University (somewhere in between) and another should be near Bhawanipatna. The later could become a constituent of Western Orissa University System.
  • CET Bhubaneswar would become a constituent college of Bhubaneswar metropolitan University or Utkal University
  • IGIT Sarang would become a constituent college of  Central Orissa University Angul.
  • Govt. Engineering College at Bhawanipatna would become a constituent college of  Western Orissa University Bhawanipatna.
  • Parla Maharaj Engineering College would become a constituent college of  Berhampur University or Khallikote University
  • OSME Keonjhar would become a constituent college of North Orissa University Keonjhar.
  • Any new government engineering colleges would become constituents of nearby universities or university campuses.
(As before these or any constituent college, when they reach a certain size can become independent universities. The number of faculty needed may depend on the type of college. For general college we recommend 150. Same for engineering colleges. I am not sure what would be a right number for a medical college.)

In addition, the government will provide incentive towards each of these universities to marshal partial resources for adding new components to become a more comprehensive university. For example:
  • The universities getting large corpus funds from an industry, individual, MP, MLA etc. would get a percentage matching contribution from the state.
  • State would support self-financed courses.
  • State would contribute towards opening of new components through PPP mechanisms developed by the university.
  • etc.
In concrete terms I think that Sambalpur University, VSS Univ of Technology and VSS Medical College, all being in close proximity in Burla, Sambalpur could be combined to form a comprehensive University. But the stakeholders (student, faculty, the community and the government) would need to decide on this. Similarly, in Cuttack, BOSE (Bhubanananda Orissa School of Engineering) could be upgraded to an engineering college and combined with Ravenshaw University and SCB Medical College for a comprehensive university, as they are also quite close to each other. In Berhampur, the medical college is close but not very close to the university. However, as long as they are in the same urban agglomeration, it should not matter. (In this regard, one should read Prof. Devesh Kapur's article in TOI titled "Robbing Peter to pay Paul," where he advocates such consolidation.) 

Some guidelines related to the above
  • Goal is to have university systems with at most 150 affiliated colleges out of which, each branch campus to have 50-60 affiliated colleges.
  • Urban area of 100K has at least a branch campus of a general university.
  • Urban area of 500K has at least an independent university (i.e., not just a branch campus).
  • Urban area of 2 million has a metropolitan university. (As per CDP of Bhubaneswar-Cuttack, its population is 1.9 million now. It should be at 2 million much before 2015.)
  • A constituent college which has 150 faculty becomes a unitary university.
  • A branch campus of a university which has 150 faculty becomes an independent university on its own. (i.e., it is no longer a branch campus and has its own VC.)
  • Colleges and branch campuses can grow in many ways and in some sense can chart their own destiny and growth. Besides approaching their university and the state for increasing faculty size they can also do many additional things.
    • Get support from UGC and ask state for some kind of a match. 
    • Get money from MPLAD or MLALAD and ask state for some kind of a match.
    • Get money from industry and ask state for some kind of a match.
  • Initial Faculty size numbers for multi-disciplinary universities:
    • Branch campuses start with 30 or 20+ the faculty size of the college it subsumes, which ever is greater. (Special attention paid to branch campuses at Balangir, Phulbani and Keonjhar by giving them 20 additional faculty. So they start at 50 instead of 30.) 
    • New university system HQs: start with 75 or 60 + the faculty size of the college it subsumes, which ever is greater. 
    • Existing university system HQ: At least 75 (Note NOU and Fakirmohan have 30 faculty each now; so they should be given 45 faculty lines each immediately.)
    • Unitary Universities: 100 or the faculty size of the college it subsumes, which ever is greater.
    • Graduate School of metropolitan university: Start with 50

Some Benefits of having branch campuses:

One major benefit of having the branch campuses will be that they will allow one to evaluate administrators who can then be appointed as vice chancellor of a university system or a unitary university. Currently, most people appointed as vice chancellors do not have administrative experience close to a VC; most have at most been HODs or Deans. Now if an administrator of a branch campus shines in his/her ability to grow that campus and improve its rating then he/she can be promoted or picked to be a vice chancellor. In other words, the administrator positions of the branch campuses would serve as a training school for would be vice chancellors.

The overall picture can be summarized by the following map.

The above map shows the jurisdiction of the 7 general university systems; five are based on the 5 comprehensive universities that currently exist in Orissa (Utkal, Sambalpur, Berhampur, NOU and Fakirmohan, each marked by big red blobs) and the two that  are proposed (Western Orissa University System HQed at Bhawanipatna and Central Orissa University HQed at Angul, both marked by big blue blobs). The jurisdiction of these seven regional university systems are marked by the black partitions

In each jurisdiction, the small red and blue dots mark the proposed branch campuses to be made by 2015. A small blue dot is near Jeypore. Samll red dots are at Phulbani, Balangir, Keonjhar, Bhadrak, Kalinanagar, Paradeep and Puri.

The brown dots mark the general unitary universities: Ravenshaw (exists), Khallikote (to be upgraded), GM (to be upgraded) and Rourkela (new).

The yellow dots represent other universities with the small dot near Bhawanipatna denoting a campus of OUAT there. The yellow dot near Sambalpur denotes VSSUT; the two yellow dots near Rourkela denote BPUT HQ and the proposed Sports University HQ; the yellow dot near Phulbani denotes the proposed tribal university HQ, the yellow dot near Puri denotes the Sri Jagannath Sanskrit University and the yellow dots near Bhubaneswar denote OUAT, Culture University, IIIT and National Law university. (Some small yellow dots, such as one in Jagatpur and the undetermined ones are missing.)

The green encirclement of the  Bhubaneswar area denotes the proposed metropolitan university.

Summary and presentation to the outside world:
  1. Two new regional universities: Western Orissa University Bhawanipatna and Central Orissa University Angul
  2. One new general unitary university: Rourkela University
  3. One new Metropolitan University: Bhubaneswar Metropolitan University
  4. Upgrading two colleges to new unitary universities: GM and Khallikote
  5. Five new specialized Universities: Tribal University (HQ Phulbani), Sports University (HQ Rourkela), Skill University (HQ-TBD), Health University (HQ-TBD), Education University (HQ-TBD)
  6. Several branch campuses of existing universities to reduce affiliation load on existing universities with a clear path on how they can become independent universities. Each branch campus will have enough independence to chart its own course. Special attention paid to branch campuses at Balangir, Phulbani and Keonjhar.
  7. A clear road map for development of comprehensive western style universities that have multiple disciplines, including engineering and medical colleges.
The above summary does not sound excessive, but yet covers our requirements. It also provides a clear path and gives guidelines for future expansion. Thus in the future, we will not be caught off-guard.