Many people asked minister Prakash Javadekar on Twitter about Jio Institute's credentials.
New Delhi: Facing questions over its move to tag as an "Institution of Eminence" the Jio Institute, which exists only on paper, the government today clarified that the Reliance Foundation project has to check out certain boxes before it makes the cut. The Jio Institute is on the elite list along with two IITs, the Indian Institute of Science, BITS Pilani and the Manipal academy. The "eminence" label gives these institutes unprecedented freedom from government controls and promises "enabling architecture" to help them achieve global excellence.
Here are the top 10 updates on this big story:
Reliance sources said the Jio Institute had applied for the "eminence" tag after a tough questionnaire, on merits.
"Our performance is proved in Reliance industries. We do not want any financial assistance or benefit," the sources said.
As questions swirled on social media, where the Jio Institute has been a trending topic, the government clarified that Jio was named in the "greenfield" category, which acknowledges new proposals yet to start.
The Human Resource Development ministry said it received 11 private proposals but its panel of experts felt that only Jio cleared all four specs - land availability, highly qualified and experienced core team, funding and strategic vision with "clear milestones and action plan".
Education Secretary R Subramanyam said it was a mistake to think the Jio Institute had already been awarded the "eminent" label. "If they set up a good campus within three years and have a good faculty and fulfill all the criteria, they will get the Institute of Eminence status. Right now they don't have the tag, they only have a letter of intent," he said.
The top official also clarified reports of a Rs. 1,000 crore grant, stressing that this was meant only for the public institutions, that is, Indian Institute of Science, IIT Delhi and IIT Mumbai.
On Greenfield institutes, he said: "These institutions are not there right now but where well-meaning responsible private investment wants to bring global standards to the country, they should be welcomed."
The government's move has been strongly criticised on social media, with many tagging Education Minister Prakash Javadekar, asking him about the Jio institute's location and credentials. "Does Jio Institute have a building? Website? Has any student graduated from there?" tweeted Sudhir Yadav. "Why has government declared it an institute of Eminene and giving it a Rs. 1000 crore grant? This is most outrageous and shameful decision."
Historian Ramchandra Guha tweeted: "To Sarkari apologists who say Jio Institute has been placed in the "Greenfield" category, a "Greenfield" university outside Chennai is being helmed by Raghuram Rajan, whose academic qualifications are in inverse proportion to those of the Ambanis. Why not choose that?"
The Reliance Foundation plans a Rs 9,500 crore investment to set up the Jio University in Pune, where it promises to recruit some of world's best faculty.