New Delhi: The controversy over granting ‘Institute of Eminence’ status to Jio Institute figured in the Rajya Sabha today as many members questioned the wisdom behind ranking the yet-to-come-up institute with the likes of IITs and others that have a proven record for decades.
Union HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar told the House that Jio Institute has “only been issued a letter of intent” and not given the tag of Institute of Eminence.
The Minister’s statement failed to convince the opposition MPs with Trinamool Congress leader Derek O’Brien saying that some media reports have linked the tag of eminence with electoral bonds (through which corporates and individuals can donate to political parties). The Minister clarified that while the three public sector Institutes of Eminence — IIT Delhi and Bombay and Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore — would be given Rs 1,000 crore each, none of the private institutes would get any such funds.
“The government was not directly involved in the selection process and (monitored it) from an arm’s length. The selection was done by an expert panel,” Javadekar said.
Spelling out the process, he said the sponsoring organization of Jio Institute has proposed to set up the institution at Karjat, Maharashtra. The institution has been given Letter of Intent for setting up Institutions of Eminence Deemed to be University in the next three years, the minister said.
“The sponsoring organization will submit a report to the Ministry indicating its readiness for commencing academic programmes within three year of this Letter of Intent,” Javadekar said.
“During this period, the proposed institution will not admit students. The students will only be admitted after the ministry isses a notification,” he added.
“The Institutions were recommended and approved by the Empowered Expert Committee (EEC) and the University Grants Commission based on their detailed vision plan on how to meet the criteria for attaining the status of an Institution of Eminence,” Javadekar said.
He informed the House that the UGC in its meeting held on July 9, 2018 considered and approved the EEC report and recommended IIT-Delhi, IIT- Bombay and IISc-Bangalore as Institutions of Eminence. Also, it recommended for issuance of Letter of Intent to Birla Institute of Technology and Sciences (BITS), Pilani; Manipal Academy of Higher Education, Manipal and Jio Institute under the greenfield category.