Centre places Jio Institute, yet to be opened, on par with IITs, IISc

Last Updated: Tue, Jul 10, 2018 11:30 hrs
Modi Ambani

New Delhi: The Union Human Resource Development Ministry's selection of the yet-to-be-established Jio Institute by Reliance Foundation as one of the six 'Institutions of Eminence' drew sharp criticism from various quarters on Monday, with many questioning the process of selection and the motive behind it.

The University Grants Commission, a panel of which carried out the selections, however, defended the move saying the institution was accorded the coveted tag under greenfield category for new or proposed institutions that are yet to come into existence.

The Human Resource Development Minister Prakash Javadekar on Monday announced the Indian Institute of Technology-Delhi, Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay and Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru, as the IoEs chosen from public sector.

From the private sector, BITS Pilani, Manipal Academy of Higher Education and JIO Institute by Reliance Foundation were the three institutes mentioned by the Minister who have been granted the status.

However, it could only be known later that the Reliance venture JIO Institute was yet to start its operations and a Google search with its name drew blanks.

The head of the committee which assessed the applications to shortlist the institutes for the status of IoU clarified that JIO Institute has been selected under the 'Greenfield' category. It was on the basis of its plans that the committee considered it for the status which is only provisional.

"It is greenfield institution. At this juncture, there's only a Letter of Intent. They're not same as established institutions. For a greenfield institution, they should have land, equipment, building, staff, etc and for that they need a lead time. So they have been given three years' time. It's only after that they will be given the status," Head of the Empowered Expert Committee N. Gopalaswami told IANS.

Greenfield projects are those projects which start from the scratch and are not modifying or upgrading any already established projects. The latter are called brownfield projects.

According to a proposal submitted by the firm to the committee, the JIO Institute will use Rs 9,500 crore in capital expenditure and will be located in a 'fully residential university city' in Pune.

As per the University Grants Commission (Institutions of Eminence Deemed to be Universities) Regulations, 2017, the Ministry was to select 20 IoEs -- 10 private and 10 public -- and had formed a EEC to shortlist the entries solicited from the institutes on the basis of their research calibre and other criteria.

The government received 114 applications (74 public, 40 private) in total from the higher education institutes, out of these the six mentioned were recommended for the tag by the EEC.

Each public institute will get financial assistance up to Rs 1,000 crore over for the period of five years under the scheme.

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