New Delhi, July 10: The HRD Ministry's selection of the yet-to-be-established Jio Institute by Reliance Foundation as one of the six "Institutions of Eminence" drew sharp criticism from various quarters, with many questioning the process of selection and the motive behind it.
The University Grants Commission (UGC), a panel of which carried out the selections, however, defended the move saying the institution was accorded the coveted tag under greenfield category for new or proposed institutions that are yet to come into existence.
On Monday, Jio Institute was trending on Twitter with many users tagging the HRD Minister, asking him about the institute's location and credentials.
The Congress tweeted, "The BJP Govt favours Mukesh & Nita Ambani yet again. The illusionary JIO Institute which is yet to see the light of day has been declared as an 'eminent' institute. The Govt needs to clarify the basis of classification for granting such a status. #SuitBo..."
"It doesn't have a campus, a website or any alumni and it has left behind prominent IITs as well as private players like Ashoka University and OP Jindal Global University. It is yet to be established but will already be marketed as a world-class institution by the government. Can't we see the conflict of interest," JNU professor Ayesha Kidwai said.
A professor from IISc-Bangalore, which was also accorded the "Institute of Eminence" (IoE) tag, tweeted, "How did @PrakashJavdekar evaluate this Jio Institute to decide it was better than IIT M or IIT KGP or so many other Institutions? How can an Institution that is in the process of being set up be declared Institution of Eminence? What are we missing here?"
The UGC defended Jio Institutes inclusion on the grounds that it was selected under rules for greenfield institutions. According to officials, 11 such institutions had applied for the IoE tag and Jio was selected from among them.
Availability of land for construction of the institution
Putting in place a core team with very high qualification and wide experience
Making available funding for setting up the institution
A strategic vision plan with clear annual milestones and action plan
The Union Human Resource Development ministry declared six educational institutions - three public and as many private - as "Institutions of Eminence" on Monday. Reliance Foundation's Jio institute, which has not even started functioning yet, also made it to the list leaving behind the likes of Delhi University and Jawaharlal Nehru University.
Javadekar said that the status will help them do whatever is needed to become "world-class institutions". "The Institutes of Eminence are important for the country. We have 800 universities, but not a single university in top 100 or even 200 in the world ranking. Today's decision will help achieve this."
The recognition will grant complete academic and administrative autonomy to these institutes, enabling them to start new courses, hire foreign faculty and collaborate with foreign institutes without government's approval.
While the government will provide a grant of Rs 1,000 crore to the three public institutions in the next five years, the private institutes will not be eligible for government funding.
OneIndia News (with PTI inputs)