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IIT Madras disappointed over not granted “Institute of Eminence” status – writes to HRD Minister

Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT Madras) is one among the foremost institutes of national importance in higher technological education, basic and applied research. In 1956, the German Government offered technical assistance for establishing an institute of higher education in engineering in India.

Recently, The Indian Institute of Technology-Madras has written to Union HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar expressing disappointment over not figuring in the list of Institutes of Eminence (IoE) despite a recommendation from the UGC-mandated selection panel.

According to sources, the premier institution has argued that it matched the caliber of the selected institutions on various parameters and it being ignored in the IoE race had impacted the morale of students and teachers.

The Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry had in July granted ‘Institutions of Eminence’ status to three public and private institutes each, enabling them to get full autonomy and special incentives to project them as “world class universities”. While the ministry will grant Rs 1,000 crore funds to the three public institutions in the next five years, the private institutes will not be eligible for government funding.

The government granted IoE status to IIT-Delhi, IIT-Bombay and Bengaluru-based Indian Institute of Science (IISc) in the public sector; and Manipal Academy of Higher Education, BITS Pilani and Jio Institute by Reliance Foundation in the private sector.

Union Human Resource Development Minister Prakash Javadekar said, “There’s no letter. I don’t know where this came from. And they (IIT-Madras) have already clarified that they have issued no letter.”

Several media reports claimed that IIT-Madras Chairman Pawan Goenka had written a letter to the MHRD expressing his displeasure over the institute not being given the IoE status despite having matching credentials in comparison with those who got it.

However, it drew flakes over the grant of IoE status to the yet-to-be-established Jio Institute. On July 26, during the question hour in the Rajya Sabha, HRD Minister clarified on the IoE status of Jio Institute and said that 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.

The three IoEs from the public sector will get Rs. 1,000 crore from the government in the next five years. The tag gives greater autonomy to the institutes in terms of recruiting foreign faculty and admitting foreign students.

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