V K Saraswat new JNU Chancellor
SCIENTIST AND former director general of Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), V K Saraswat, was appointed as Chancellor of Jawaharlal Nehru University on Thursday.
Saraswat succeeds former ISRO chairman K Kasturirangan, who completed his term on March 30 this year. Saraswat has been appointed for a term of five years.
Although the JNU Act describes the chancellor as the head of the institution, it is a titular post. As the Chancellor of JNU, Saraswat will discharge functions such as presiding over the convocation ceremony for awarding degrees.
Apart from being a member of the JNU court, he will be the competent authority to sanction leave to the vice-chancellor. He, however, will play little role in the day-today administration of the university.
A PHD in combustion engineering, Saraswat played a very significant role in the development of the country’s first liquid propulsion engine — Devil.
He is also credited with the development of other rocket engines such as Prithvi, Dhanush and Prahaar. He has held the posts of Scientific Advisor to the Defence Minister, and secretary to the Department of Defence (research and development).
Saraswat was awarded the Padmashri in 1998, and Padmabhushan in 2013. Currently, he is also serving as member of the NITI Aayog.
Saraswat’s appointment has come at a time when the university’s teachers and students are at loggerheads with the administration over changes to the admission policy, which has led to a drastic cut in Mphil and PHD seats.
V K Saraswat, scientist and former director general of the Defence Research and Development Organisation, takes from K Kasturirangan