Union HRD Minister Prakash Javdekar on Monday proudly announce that as part of Prime Minister ‘quality initiative,’ his government had selected six universities under its institutions of eminence category.
Aside from three government institutions, Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru, and the Indian Institutes of Technology in Mumbai and Delhi, they also included three private universities namely BITS (Pilani), Manipal Academy of Higher Education and Jio Institute.
Javdekar used two hashtags #TransformingEducation and #48MonthsOfTransformingIndia and posted a series of tweets. He wrote, “Yet another landmark quality initiative of @narendramodi Government. The #InstituteofEminence are selected by the Experts Panel & today we are releasing list of 6 universities – 3 each in public and private sector.
However, much to the surprise of everyone, Mukesh Ambani-owned Jio Institute getting the recognition as one of the top six universities in India has happened even though the institute remains non-existent.
The Congress said that the BJP government was favouring ‘Mukesh & Nita Ambani’ even though the ‘illusionary JIO Institute’ is yet to ‘see the light of day.’ Its tweet read, “The BJP Govt favours Mukesh & Nita Ambani yet again. The illusionary JIO Institute which is yet to see the light of day has been declared as an ’eminent’ institute. The Govt needs to clarify the basis of classification for granting such a status.”
And the allegations of crony capitalism in the key education sector by the Modi government didn’t just come from the BJP’s political adversary. Author Krishan Pratap Singh tweeted, “So let me get this straight. Reliance’s Jio Institute currently has no students…no courses…no teachers…no buildings…only really exists on paper at the moment. But you have given it the status of ‘Institute of Eminence’ along with a grant of ₹1000 cr? Bravo, sir, bravo!”
Lawyer Rahul Kumar wrote, “What on this earth is this Jio institute Mr Minister?? Where is this situated? Institute of Eminence out of thin air?? How insulted BITS pilani and @ManipalUni would hv been feeling as years of hard work and excellence by these institutes is treated like this.” Journalist Kallol Bhattacharjee wrote, “JIO Institute/University is years from being born, yet it is an “eminent” institute. How brainless or shameless can this be.”
Javdekar said that the government institutions recognised as Institute of Eminence will receive annual grant of Rs 1000 crore for next five years. But, he and his government may have a lot to answer as to how an an imaginary institution was declared top notch even before it was born.