Patna: With a red rose and broad smile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi was welcomed by Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar at the Patna airport this morning. Mr Kumar, who was showered with praise by the PM for his commitment to develop the state, also accommodated PM Modi's last-minute request to squeeze in a visit to the city's brand-new museum. PM Modi, however, couldn't return the favour immediately and bypassed a request made by Mr Kumar to make Patna University a central university.
- Nitish Kumar requested PM Modi to declare Patna University a central one
- PM Modi dodged request saying such measures were 'thing of the past'
- Says centre making 10 government, 10 private universities 'world class'
"People of Bihar are looking forward to PM Modi with hope that you will announce central university status to Patna University," Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, with folded hands, said, adding "do this, and you will be remembered for a 100 years"
PM Modi, who shared stage with Mr Kumar at the centenary celebrations of the Patna University, downplayed the Chief Minister's request saying that measures like grant of central status were "a thing of the past" and his government has taken "a step forward" towards making 10 private universities and 10 government ones world class.
"We will provide an assistance of Rs 10,000 crore to 10 private universities and an equal number of government ones for a period of five years. All these universities have to do is to demonstrate their potential to become world class," he said, adding, "I am here to invite Patna University to become part of education reform by its good performance."
Stressing that there is an urgent need for education reforms in India, Mr Modi, who is the first Prime Minister to visit Patna University said, "Till date reform in education is very slow. It should be speeded up."
The demand for central university status has been raised time and again by Vice Chancellors of Patna University, politicians, faculty members and students in the past.
This is PM Modi's first visit to Bihar since the BJP became a part of the ruling coalition in the state in July after Mr Kumar junked Grand Alliance over corruption allegations against his then partner Lalu Yadav and his family.
In Bihar, PM Modi also laid the foundation stone for four sewerage projects under the Namami Gange Programme and four national highway projects in Mokama area of Patna district. The total outlay of these projects is over Rs 3,700 crore.