New Delhi: The CPI-M on Tuesday slammed the Centre's decision to include the non-existant Jio Institute in the category of 'Institutes of Eminence, and called it "brazen cronyism".
"The Polit Bureau of the Communist Party of India-Marxist strongly opposes the move by the Narendra Modi government to accord 'Institution of Eminence' status to the Reliance Foundation's Jio Institute.
"We condemn this move of the government which cannot be construed as anything but brazen cronyism," the party said in a statement.
It said for an institution to stand the test of time and evolve into a truly 'world class' institution of higher learning and research is a challenging process.
"It takes great perseverance and creativity to earn that tag of eminence. It is bewildering that the Jio Institute, which is non-existent and notional, has been given that status solely on a 'drawing board' projection," it added.
Some time back, the government had announced that 20 institutions, 10 each from the public and private sectors, would be selected as institutions of eminence.
A Committee headed by former Chief Election Commissioner N. Gopalaswami was tasked to identify these institutions.
The government released a list of six 'Institutions of Eminence' on Monday which included IIT-Delhi, IISc-Bangalore, IIT-Bombay, BITS Pilani and Manipal Academy of Higher Education, besides Jio Institute.
"The entire exercise and the considerations by the Gopalaswami Committee have remained largely outside the public domain.
"The Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry has now come out with an announcement that the total number will be reduced from 20 to just six and one of the chosen three private institutions is Reliance Foundation's Jio Institute," the statement said.
The Left party stressed that the decision would have a "debilitating effect" on the entire sphere of higher education "underlining the obsession of the government to promote privatisation and undermining public-funded higher education".
Kerala Finance Minister Thomas Issac also on Tuesday slammed Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the Centre's Jio institute move.
Issac wrote in his Facebook that the only comparison he can make with Modi is that of King Farouk I of Egypt who suffered from nightmares in which he was chased by an angry lion and haggard from loss of sleep, he went to the zoo and shot two lions in their cage.
"It's only because it's Ambani that Modi gave this on a platter and he gave it to an institute where not even the foundation has been laid.
"Even if Ambani desires for the moon, it will be brought to his residence in Mumbai by the Centre," said Issac.
Issac pointed out that the "Institution of Eminence" has even excluded an institution like the Jawaharlal Nehru University New Delhi.
By this surprising move, Modi has replaced the legendary Delhi Sultan Muhammad Bin Tuglak and shamed India, said Issac.
The Indian Institutes of Technology at Delhi and Bombay, the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore, the Birla Institute of Technology at Pilani, Rajasthan, which was set up in 1964, and the Manipal Academy of Higher Education, which began with Kasturba Medical College in 1953 are those in the list.