The government said today the ‘Institution of Eminence’ tag has not been bestowed on the Jio Institute, but only a letter of intent has been given subject to conditions. During Question Hour in the Rajya Sabha, several members sought clarity on the criteria on the basis of which the prestigious title was conferred on select institutions. HRD minister Prakash Javadekar said a committee of experts had made the selections after a thorough scrutiny. Javadekar categorically told the House that the Jio Institute has not been declared an ‘Institution of Eminence’.
He said the Jio Institute has only been recommended by a panel for a letter of intent, subject to certain conditions. The institutes which were chosen were Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi, and Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay. He said the Birla Institute of Technological Sciences, Pilani, Manipal Academy of Higher Education, Manipal, and Jio Institute were recommended for issuance of letter of intent, the minister’s reply said.
When CPI leader D Raja sought to know why top performing institutions like the IIT Chennai or JNU were not included, Javadekar said a panel had carried out the scrutiny and the government had maintained an arm’s length. Raja put up another supplementary question, but before Javadekar could reply, Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu said the questions should be directed through the chair. “The mantri (minister) need not respond just because the Raja (King) has asked,” Naidu commented in a lighter vein.
Earlier replying to another question, Javadekar listed the steps taken to improve the condition of educational infrastructure in the country. An allocation of Rs 75,000 crore over the period from April 1 this year to March 31, 2020 has been approved under the Samagra Shiksha scheme, which was 20 per cent more than the current allocations.
He said the annual grant of Rs 5,000 to Rs 20,000 per school was approved for strengthening of libraries while the composite school grant has been raised from Rs 25,000 to one lakh from Rs 14,500 to 50,000. Annual grant for sports equipment was Rs 5,000 for primary schools, Rs 10,000 for upper primary and upto Rs 25,000 for secondary and senior secondary schools, he said.
Allocation for children with special needs was also increased, including a stipend of Rs 200 per month for girls to be provided from class I to XII, he said, adding that the allotment for uniforms was enhanced from Rs 400 to Rs 600 per child per year.