Cong questions 'eminence' status to 'non-existent' Jio Institute


The Congress today attacked the Centre for granting the "Institution of Eminence" status to the "non-existent" Jio Institute and took a swipe at Prime Minister Narendra Modi saying he would attain his elusive degree in entire political science - from there.

The party also alleged that Modi will get his degree in electives like "crony capitalism" and "destroying democracy" from the Jio institute. It also alleged that the BJP has been favouring rich businessmen and big business houses, which has been proved in this case.

"It is only under Modi government that a non-existent University can receive the tag of 'Institute of Eminence', just like a person can study a non-existent course and receive the degree of 'Entire Political Science'," the Congress said on its official Twitter handle.

In an article 'The Elusive Eminence of Jio Institute' on its website, the Congress also said a number of prominent academics have questioned the HRD Ministry's decision to award a non-existent institute such a prominent status.

"The close relationship between PM Modi and the Ambanis is known to all, and we do not doubt it played a significant role in the inclusion of Jio Institute to the list of Institutes of Eminence. One can only hope now that the PM can finally attain his elusive degree in entire political science - may be Jio Institute offers it along with other electives like crony capitalism and destroying democracy," the party said in the article.

The HRD Ministry yesterday day granted "Institutions of Eminence" status to three public and three private institutes, enabling them to get full autonomy and special incentives to project them as "world class universities".

The government granted "Institutions of Eminence" (IoEs) status to IIT-Delhi, IIT-Bombay and the 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. The Congress had earlier alleged that the BJP government favours Mukesh and 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 government needs to clarify the basis of classification for granting such a status," it had said.

"While the Jio Institute still remains a figment of the Ambani's imagination, it brings up a curious question: How deeply entrenched are the Ambanis in the government machinery that they can so blatantly control the outcome of independent committees'?," the party asked.

"BJP has been continuously favouring rich businessmen, big business houses. This has been proved time and again," senior party leader Ashok Gehlot said.

Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi said he did not intend to refer at all to any institution, individual company or entity, but asked that any institution which is seeking such status, must establish its credentials by various acknowledged established tests of adequate infrastructure, outstanding faculty, credible research output, a place of prestige in the academia.

He said "this is the obligation of the Government and the HRD Ministry and till now apart from a lot of talk, we have not seen great achievements in this regard by the HRD or the Government."

"The need of the hour is for the HRD Ministry to look into these four or five established criteria and certainly if you satisfy them in a very objective proper way, then to grant the status. But equally to be extremely strong and harsh if you do not satisfy this criterion and at the moment I think we need a proper transparent system where you will share with the nation, how you apply the criteria and how you have done it," Singhvi said.

While funding and availability of land are clearly not an issue for the RIL sponsored Jio Institute, nothing is known of its core team or strategic vision plan, the party also said. The Congress alleged that the Jio Institute does not exist, yet the HRD Ministry and its Empowered Expert Committee (EEC) still believe it is an Institute of Eminence.

"What exactly drove them to this conclusion? We would hope the PM could provide an explanation, alas, waiting for him to speak is like waiting for the benefits of Demonetisation - pointless and disappointing," it said.

The Congress said an entirely separate category of applications have been invited from the sponsoring organisations for setting up of new or Greenfield projects. However, in order to be accepted as a Greenfield project, the institution must provide proof of the following parameters: availability of land for construction, available funds for the project, a core team with very high qualifications and wide experience and a strategic vision plan with clear milestones & action plan, it said.

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