UGC says no to Eminence tag for Jadavpur University

UGC says no to Eminence tag for Jadavpur University

An expert panel and the UGC have recommended that Jadavpur University and Jamia Hamdard University, which were shortlisted by the Centre for granting Institutions of Eminence (IoE) status, should not be granted the tag, according to officials.

Also, the Tamil Nadu government has withdrawn the proposal submitted earlier to confer the status of IoE on Anna University, they said.

The Ministry of Education is yet to take call on the recommendations by the Empowered Expert Committee (EEC) and the University Grants Commission (UGC).

"Jadavpur University, a state public varsity had initially submitted a proposal with budget outlay of ₹3,299 crore under the scheme. Subsequently, the Ministry had sought financial commitment from the West Bengal government for their share of funds since the scheme has a provision to fund up to ₹1,000 crore of the proposed outlay only and to ensure continuity of funds for the implementation plans in case of any shortfall," a top official privy to the development told.

"However, the same was not agreed to by West Bengal government and it revised the proposal, first to ₹1,015 crore and then again revised steeply downward to ₹606 crore with 25 per cent of the amount to be generated by the university at its level. Noticing a significant decrease in the budget outlay, the matter was referred to the UGC and EEC to examine the proposal afresh and both of them recommended the Ministry of Education to not consider the university for IoE status," the official added.

No response was available from the three universities on the issue.

The Education Ministry had launched the IoE scheme in 2018 as per which 20 institutions were to be selected -- 10 public and 10 private ones -- that would enjoy complete academic and administrative autonomy.

In the first lot, the Indian Institute of Technology Delhi, IIT Bombay and the Bengaluru-based Indian Institute of Science (IISc) were awarded the IoE status in the public sector, and Manipal Academy of Higher Education and BITS Pilani in the private sector, while the Jio Institute by Reliance Foundation was given the tag in Greenfield category.

In 2019, five public institutions, including Delhi University, Banaras Hindu University, University of Hyderabad, IIT-Madras and IIT-Kharagpur were granted the status.

A Letter of Intent for granting the IoE status was also issued to five private universities -- Amrita Vidyapeetham and Vellore Institute of Technology in Tamil Nadu, Odisha's Kalinga Institute of Industrial Technology, Jamia Hamdard University in Delhi and Satya Bharti Foundation's Bharti Institute in Mohali.

Similarly, the governments of West Bengal and Tamil Nadu were asked to indicate their commitment towards contribution to Jadavpur University and Anna University to enable them to have the IoE tag.

"On the recommendation of EEC and UGC, the Ministry had sought a financial commitment from the Tamil Nadu government for its share of funds under the scheme to make good of the shortfall in funds, if any, to ensure proper execution of implementation plans under the IoE Scheme. However, the state government refused any financial commitment owing to its financial condition and informed that the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly had passed a bill, bifurcating the University into Anna Technological and Research University and Anna University.

"Also, a committee set up by the Tamil Nadu government recommended that Anna University does not require IoE status. Therefore, the state government has withdrawn the proposal submitted earlier to confer the status of IoE on the university," the official said.

While the government will provide funding up to ₹1,000 crore to public institutions with IoE tag, in case of private institutions proposed as Institutions of Eminence, there will be no financial support. But they will be entitled to more autonomy as a special category Deemed University.

"Following the Supreme Court order, division of Hamdard National Foundation (HNF) into Hamdard Education and Cultural Aid Committee (HECA) and Medical Relief and Education Committee (MREC) based on the resolution of the family settlement deed is proposed. Since, IoE status was granted in toto, the EEC, after due deliberation has recommended to not consider the institution for IoE status," the official said.

According to a Parliamentary panel, the Ministry of Education has informed that the draft MoUs received from four private institutions -- JIO Institute; Vellore Institute of Technology, Vellore; Kalinga Institute of Industrial Technology, Bhubaneswar and Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, Coimbatore -- recommended for IoE status have been forwarded to the UGC for placing it before the EEC and forward its advice.