Amartya Sen Didn’t Earn Rs 5 Lakhs/Month as Nalanda’s Chancellor
Various posts claiming that economist and Nobel laureate Amartya Sen enjoyed a salary of Rs 5 lakh per month have been doing the rounds. These posts also state that he ran the Nalanda University in the capacity of its Chairman while staying abroad and the total expenditure has been a staggering 2729 crores.
In addition to this, the posts also talk about four faculty members being appointed which includes former prime minister Manmohan Singh’s daughter, Upinder Singh.
The post is also viral on Facebook.
TRUE OR FALSE?
The claims on social media are false, as ascertained after a detailed research done by dissecting the claim into smaller fragments.
Twitter user @samjawed65, in a tweet thread, also debunked these claims in response to TOI journalist Bharti Jain’s tweets. It should be noted that Jain’s tweets have since been deleted.
WHAT WE FOUND OUT
Amartya Sen served as the Chancellor of Nalanda University for almost a decade till 2015. During this period, he received “no salary whatsoever from Nalanda University”, said the University in a statement responding to BJP’s Subramanian Swamy allegations in 2015, reported The Hindu. It also added that all his work for the university has been done in an ‘honorary capacity’.
Thus, he clearly did not draw a salary of Rs 5 lakh per month as was mentioned in the posts.
Secondly, his travels abroad were not aided by the university. He in fact had received a free Air India pass as a gift by Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee to celebrate his Nobel prize, reported The Hindu in the same article.
As for the claim of Sen having “run the university while sitting abroad”, the Nalanda University Act, 2010 clearly defines that the vice-chancellor will be the principal academic and executive officer of the University. This means that the vice-chancellor will effectively oversee the administration of the University, while the chancellor is the head of the University.
Moreover, the Act also mentions that the chancellor “if present, has to preside over the convocations and meetings of the governing board”.
Meanwhile, there is also a mention of a whopping Rs 2,729 crore being spent. But, according a report by the Press Information Bureau published on 20 January, there was a proposal to provide financial support to Nalanda University of Rs 2727.10 crore which has been allocated for a period till 2021-22, as per the MEA.
As for the claim about the appointment of four faculty members, it should be noted that Dr Gopa Sabharwal was appointed as the Vice Chancellor of the university. Amartya Sen clarified in an interview in 2010 that she was selected after a lot of deliberation by the selection committee. Dr Anjana Sharma is the Founding Dean (Academic Planning).
The post also claims that Amartya Sen was thrown out after the Modi government came to power in 2014.
However, the Nalanda University Act clearly mentions that there is a stipulated time for the tenure of every chancellor – which is three years. Sen was appointed as Chancellor of the university in 2012.
Further, Sen had in fact excused himself from a second term in the post in a letter to Nalanda University in 2015, reported The Indian Express.
The governing body of the Nalanda University had decided to extend his tenure to another term, however, upon not receiving assent from the President in time, Sen decided to excuse himself from continuing. He wrote:
Thus, it can be clearly seen that the claims being made by the post are false.
(This story was first debunked by @samjawed65 in a series of tweets.)