Weeks after the proposed Jio Institute was named among other institutes as having received the Institution of Eminence tag from the government, Union HRD minister Prakash Javadekar Thursday said in Rajya Sabha that the proposed university has only received a “letter of intent”. “We have only given them a letter of intent…we will not give them any money,” he said in his reply during Question Hour.
Javadekar said a committee of experts had made the selections after thorough scrutiny. The institutes which were chosen were Indian Institute of Science, IIT-Delhi and IIT-Bombay. Birla Institute of Technological Sciences, Pilani, Manipal Academy of Higher Education and Jio Institute were recommended for issuance of letter of intent, the minister’s reply said.
When CPI leader D Raja sought to know why institutions like IIT-Chennai or JNU were not included, Javadekar said a panel had carried out the scrutiny and the government had maintained an arm’s length.
Members also raised the issue of alleged starvation deaths of three sisters in Delhi. BSP leader Satish Chandra Mishra asked whether the government had taken note of the incident. Minister of State for Planning Rao Inderjit Singh said the incident was a very “unfortunate” but it needed to be seen under what circumstances the deaths took place and whether starvation was the reason. Mishra expressed dissatisfaction with the minister’s reply, saying the media had reported starvation as the reason. The minister said that not everything that appeared in newspapers was “gospel” and added that the reports needed to be verified.
Congress leader Anand Sharma said it was a serious matter and the members would seek a discussion.
The proposal to induct private sector specialists through lateral entry too was raised. The government said the proposal was not made based on any conclusion that the bureaucracy was “inefficient”, but was aimed at augmenting manpower availability and to bring in fresh ideas in governance. MoS, Personnel, Jitendra Singh said in a written reply, “The decision for lateral entry at joint secretary-level is based on the recommendations of the sectoral group of secretaries on governance, in view of the need for bringing in fresh ideas, new approaches to governance and to augment the availability of personnel at JS level and not because of any conclusion that Indian bureaucracy is inefficient.”