“The development and support of Indian studies at the University of Melbourne has been given a generous funding boost.
The Australia India Institute will receive a gift of $400,000 over the next four years from Australia India Social and Charitable Ventures Limited, through Mr T. Janardhana Rao OAM and his family.
The financial support will go towards the development of Indian studies and engagement at the University. The funding will also help to provide scholarships to assist students from India, or of Indian heritage, who are facing financial hardship.
Director and CEO of the Australia India Institute and Professor of Geography at the University of Melbourne, Craig Jeffrey, thanked Mr Rao and his family noting that the funding provides an opportunity for the University to grow its expertise in the area of India-focussed research.
“This important gift will greatly enhance the efforts of the Institute and the University of Melbourne to develop the study of India and engage with the Indian diaspora. We are extremely grateful to Mr Rao and his family for their generosity and vision,” Professor Jeffrey said.
Speaking on behalf of his father Mr T Janardhana Rao OAM and the Australia India Social and Charitable Ventures Limited, businessman Harish Rao said the Indian community in Victoria has grown from less than 100 families in 1968 to over 300,000 people of Indian origin now.
Mr Rao emphasised that it is critical the wider Australian community is able to enhance their engagement with the Indian diaspora, and it is equally important for the Indian diaspora to further integrate into mainstream Australian society.
“India and Australia have a tremendous amount in common. We want to highlight the opportunities that exist in the Australia-India relationship, from education, business and commerce through to culture, the arts and sport. It is our hope that this gift and the work of the Australia India Institute will support this important goal,” Mr Rao said.
The Rao Foundation gift will help to facilitate a new program of research and teaching in Indian studies at the University of Melbourne, focusing on the economy, politics, and society of contemporary India as well as the Australia-India relationship.”