Plan for new NIDs gains pace

Plans to set up four new National Institutes of Design (NID) across India are gaining pace with land for the new campuses at Jorhat in Assam, Hyderabad in Andhra Pradesh and Bhopal in Madhya Pradesh having already been transferred while the proposed site for a campus in Kurukshetra, Haryana, has been finalised and awaiting a final transfer.

In fact, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is expected to lay the foundation stone for the Hyderabad campus, to be located inside the Central University's sprawling campus there, sometime next month. Singh had last year laid the foundation stone for the campus at Jorhat.

Meanwhile, the governing council of the existing NID — which currently has campuses in Ahmedabad, Gandhinagar and Bangalore — has been directed to begin brainstorming on how the four new NIDs would be governed, particularly on whether they should each have their own directors and governing boards like the IIMs and IITs or be more centralised with one director-general looking after operations in various campuses, as is the case with the National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT).

A final call on this is expected to be taken once the Planning Commission (PC) finalises the financial allocation for the new NIDs although the current NID is most likely to handhold the new institutes at least in the beginning, according to NID Director Pradyumna Vyas, who has lately been frequenting Delhi and the planned sites as part of finalisation moves.

On the other hand, the PC has also been lending an attentive ear to a group of senior design faculty calling themselves the Vision First Team and is reportedly considering setting up an Open Design School (ODS) and several Design Innovation Centres (DICs) alongside.

The team enjoys strong backing from Sam Pitroda, chairman of the National Innovation Council, and had in fact gotten a considerable toehold in after the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) — under which NID functions — was forced to float new Request For Proposals (RFPs) for new NIDs in mid-2011. Bids for the first RFP had been found unsatisfactory.

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