Jio Institute row: Finance Ministry warned HRD against granting Institute of Eminence tag in 2017, claims report

By: | Published: August 29, 2018 7:26 AM

Jio Institute row: The Finance Ministry had warned the Ministry of Human Resource Development in 2017 against providing such tag for the private institutions which are yet to be established

Jio InstituteThe institute only exists on paper

The Narendra Modi government’s decision to grant Institute of Eminence (IoE) status to Reliance’s yet-to-be-established Jio Institute has evoked sharp criticism from Opposition parties as well as academics. The Finance Ministry had warned the Ministry of Human Resource Development in 2017 against providing such tag for the private institutions which are yet to be established, according to Indian Express report.

“…for the private institutions which are yet to be established, granting of the status of Institutions of Eminence based on future plans is beyond rationale and is not supported. The laid down criteria in this regard is highly subjective,” the Department of Expenditure (DoE) wrote back on February 23, 2017 while reacting to the greenfield category mentioned in the Expenditure Finance Committee (EFC) note moved by the HRD Ministry early last year, as per official records obtained by IE via Right To Information (RTI) Act.

“This methodology will give an edge to an institution which is not even established yet by improving its brand value and positioning it above the already established government and private institutions. This will be demotivational and therefore, detrimental to higher education ecosystem. Grading an institution as ‘Institutions of Eminence’ only based on intentions and a plan defies all logic. Hence the same should be revised,” the DoE’s five-page note states.

Apart from the DoE, the Department of Higher Education under the HRD Ministry on July 27, 2016, had circulated an internal note seeking comments from five division heads on whether the draft IoE regulations violate any laws pertaining to centrally-funded education institutions.

While reacting to the technical education division wrote, “Considering that established global reputation of the alumni and research are crucial factors in these ratings (international rankings), new institutions cannot make this grade in a five-year period. The focus should therefore be on institutions which currently exist and are already in the global ranking scenario.” The technical education division looks after IITs, NITs, IIITs and AICTE.

“In order to correctly evaluate the institutions based on their past performance, there should be at least 5-6 batches who have graduated from the institution and, therefore, the institution should be in existence for about 8 to 10 years,” another division, which looks after international collaboration in the education sector, wrote on August 8, 2016.

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