Still on paper but Jio institute is On Centre’s Elite List; sparks controversy

The government has named three private and three public universities as “Institutions of Eminence” which will receive special funding and complete autonomy in an attempt to raise their standards as world-class institutions in the coming years. The list – which includes two IITs – features the Jio Institute of the Reliance Foundation, which is yet to be launched. As the government faced questions and was attacked by the Congress, the University Grants Commission – a panel of which carried out the selections – said the institution made the cut under the greenfield category for new or proposed institutions.

On Monday, Jio trended on Twitter, with many tagging Education Minister Prakash Javadekar, asking him about the institute’s location and credentials. Besides Jio, the list includes BITS Pilani, Manipal Academy of Higher Education, Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bengaluru, and the Indian Institutes of Technology in Mumbai and Delhi.

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…”

The UGC said the Jio Institute was selected under rules for greenfield institutions. According to officials, 11 such institutions had applied for the Institute of Eminence and Jio was selected from among them.

Earlier on Monday, making the announcement about Institutes of Eminence in a series of tweets, Mr Javadekar said, “The #InstituteofEminence are important for the country. We have 800 univ, but not a single university in top 100 or even 200 in the world ranking. Today’s decision will help achieve this.”

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