Sir Ganesh Dutt Singh (1868–1943) was an Indian administrator and educationist. He did much to improve education and health services in the state of Bihar and Orissa before the independence of India from Britain. Dutt made generous donations from his earnings and personal property for the development of educational institutions, such as the radium institute in Patna Medical College, Darbhanga Medical College and Hospital, Ayurvedic College and schools for the blind and deaf. A short film based on the life and works of Dutt was made by Prakash Jha.
Dutt was Minister for Local Self Government of Bihar and Orissa under British rule, and one of the major public figures of the province of Bihar. Sir Ganesh Dutt donated his house Krishna Kunj to Patna University to start the Patna University Institute of Psychological Research and Service, one of the oldest psychological service centres in Eastern India in 1945 at the initiative of Sir Chandeshwar Prasad Narayan Singh Sinha, the Vice-Chancellor of Patna University. Dutt saved nearly three-quarters of his salary each month for 14 years to give it to various charities to benefit orphans, widows, and schools in the state.
He took keen interest in Patna University's development. He donated some of his assets to the University and worked to terminate the practice of appointing former judges as vice-chancellors; Sachchidanand Sinha became the first VC of Patna University who was not a judge.
Dutt was born to a Bhumihar Brahmin family in Chhatiyana village, Nalanda district, Bihar state. He matriculated five years later with first division and a scholarship for proficiency in mathematics. He then became a modestly successful lawyer, and later a minister in the government of Bihar and Orissa from 1923 to 1937, the longest tenure for any minister anywhere in the British Empire. Dutt was the Minister of Local Self Government in the British Cabinet from 1923 till 1937 when the Provincial Government was established. While he was the Minister of Local Self Government, Dutt was made Knight Bachelor by the British for his contributions to the public good. State functions are organised by the Government of Bihar on the anniversary of Dutt's birth on 13 January every year.
Sir Ganesh continued as a minister of Bihar and Orissa till 31 March 1936. After the separation of Orissa and Bihar he continued to hold the position. He became minister on 27 March 1923 and five years later in June 1928, he was knighted by the King Emperor, in recognition of his ability as an administrator and his service to the country. He retired from ministership on the introduction of provincial autonomy in 1937 after having held office continuously for 14 years from 1923. During his tenure of office as minister he set apart most of his salary for charitable and educational purposes.
He gave Rs. 100,000 to Patna University on 30 November 1931, and a further Rs. 200,000 on 27 May 1933. With this endowment the Patna University Sir Ganesh Dutt Singh's Trust Fund was created, funding loan scholarships for higher studies in industry, agriculture, science, medicine, engineering, etc. Dutt required that, all else being equal, preference was to be given to the untouchable castes and backward castes over the forward castes.
Patna University awarded him the degree of Doctor Honouris Causa in 1933.
In 1928 there had been widespread agitation in Bihar due to an ill-advised step on the part of the ruling British Government in superseding the District Board at Gaya and removing Anugraha Narain Sinha, a prominent national leader, from its chairmanship. Sri Krishna Sinha(first Chief Minister of Bihar),leader of the Congress party, disapproved of the policy of Ganesh Dutt Singh as Minister of the Local-Self Government in superseding the Gaya district board, and came down heavily on the government in the Bihar and Orissa Legislative council.
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- Sinha, Sachchidananda (1944). Some Eminent Behar Contemporaries. Himalaya Publications. p. 218.
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- Sir Ganesh Dutt Singh: A life Study. Ganesh Dutt Parishad, Bihar, Vaishali Bhavan, Tikiatoli, Mahendru, Patna – 800006. January 1991.
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- Bakshi, S.R.; Chaturvedi, Ritu (2007). Bihar through the ages, vol 4: Eminent Leaders. New Delhi: Sarup & Sons. p. 46. ISBN 8176257982. Retrieved 9 December 2013.
- "Sri Krishna Sinha biography-Disapproved of LSG minister Ganesh Dutt's policy about Gaya district board and heavily opposed the move". Google Books. 10 May 1987. Retrieved 11 January 2012.