Modi Govt Gifts ‘IoE’ Status to Ambani’s Jio Institute Before It’s Set Up

New Delhi : 

The Human Resource and Development Minister – Prakash Javdekar announced names of six institutions of higher education to be granted the status of “Institution of Eminence”. Surprisingly, ‘Jio Institute by Reliance Foundation’ is included in the list which is yet to be set up.

The Jio Institute led by Nita Ambani is supposed to take 3 more years to commence. Now, with the status of “Institution of Eminence”, the Jio Institute in Mumbai would get unprecedented freedom from the government’s Higher Education Regulation from it’s foundation.

The other Institutes to be included in the list are IIT Bombay, IIT Delhi, IISc Banglore, Birla Institute of Technology at Pilani in Rajasthan and Manipal Academy of Higher Education.

The IoE tag will grant special powers to these six institutes, such as greater autonomy to start a new course, hire foreign faculty and collaborate with foreign institutes without government approval.

The government’s plan was to give IoE tag to 20 institutions, 10 each in public and private sector. The criterion for the institutes was that they should have the potential to find a place in the top 500 institutes of the world. But the four-member expert committee led by former chief election commissioner, N Gopalaswami, found only six that deserved it. Gopalaswami told the Economic Times “We considered the eligibility criteria carefully and we could not find 20 institutes that we felt would be able to find a place among top 500 global rankings in ten years.”

The HRD minister said that India has 800 universities but not a single one is even in the top 200 universities in the world ranking. However, Jio Institute’s inclusion sparks a debate as how could an institution  which is yet to set up be granted autonomy.

N.Gopalalswami defended Jio’s inclusion saying that it has been included under the Greenfield category.

“We have selected Jio Institute under the greenfield category, which is a category meant for new institutes; institutes that have no history. We looked at the proposal and it turned out to be fit for the tag. They have a plan in place, they have funding, they have a place for a campus and everything that was required under the said category,” former election commissioner N. Gopalaswami, who headed the panel to select the institutes, told The Print.

“Eleven greenfield and 29 brownfield (existing) private institutes had applied. Of them, one in the greenfield category and two in the brownfield category have been selected,” he added.