AICTE Chairman Anil Dattatraya Sahasrabudhe today said it was a matter of regret that centuries-old institutions like the University of Calcutta "stand nowhere" among the top-ranked institutions of India. Sahasrabudhe, while delivering a lecture at the International Management Institute (IMI) here, said, "I normally don't talk of poor examples. But among the first three universities today - the University of Calcutta, University of Bombay and University of Madras. they stand nowhere among the institutions of excellence." He said he wanted to see these universities feature among the top 10 in the country. "Why have they slipped? Possibly because the leadership was not right. There are some other universities in the top 10, these universities, too, need to be among the top 10," the top AICTE official said. Sahasrabudhe said among the old institutions, Punjab University and Benares Hindu University have maintained their academic standard. Citing examples of institutons that have "slipped and been resurrected to glory," he referred to IIEST, Shibpur, which "had at one time been a great institution, then slipped and thanks to the autonomy granted to it, became BESU and then IIEST. Now, it has been transformed and competing with IITs." The AICTE chief also said it was mulling giving graded autonomy to institutions. "We are thinking of graded autonomy on the lines of UGC's graded autonomy. liberty to engage with any foreign university to start innovative programmes," he said. He said the AICTE was set to give autonomy to stand-alone PG diploma instutions "who have got excellent accreditation score through NAAC." Sahasrabudhe said many government-run institutions were uninterested in autonomy for various reasons. "Many government institutions are not interested in autonomy bcause of uncalled for fears of job crisis and rise in work load. Sometimes, varsities don't want to give autonomy to colleges under fear of not getting recognition for the achievements of affiliated colleges. "And for private institutes, many are not interested as they perhaps think why should we create their own brand when they are already tagged with a brand," he said. In the wake of this, he said the AICTE, MHRD and the UGC were contemplating that if an institution gets an 'A' grade accreditation, "whether the college wants or not, autonomy will be thrust on it."