Kolkata’s Jadavpur University (JU) is set to lose out on ‘Institution of Eminence’ (IoE) status as the West Bengal government has expressed its inability to commit Rs 2,000 crore under the scheme. JU’s IoE tag, in all likelihood, will go to the next institute on the waitlist — Savitribai Phule Pune University, followed by Aligarh Muslim University.
“UGC will have to take a final call on the next step,” said a senior HRD Ministry official who did not wish to be identified. On Friday, West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar said JU has a global reputation and it deserves IoE status.
Last month, the HRD Ministry awarded IoE status to five public-funded institutions — IIT-Madras, BHU, IIT-Kharagpur, DU and University of Hyderabad — which would get up to Rs 1,000 crore for expansion. However, JU and Anna University’s IoE tag, despite the UGC’s recommendation, was put on hold.
As first reported by The Indian Express on August 11, the HRD Ministry had written to the West Bengal and Tamil Nadu government, seeking a commitment of Rs 2,000 crore and Rs 1,750 crore, respectively, in order for the two varsities to become IoEs.
“It is informed that as per the proposal submitted by Jadavpur University, the total cost for meeting the objectives of IoE over five-year period has been estimated as RS 3,000 crore (approx), out of which, the Central Government, under this scheme would provide grants to the extent of 50% – 75% of the total requirement or Rs 1,000 crore, whichever is less, in a span of five years and the remaining amount would be borne by the State Government and the University. This leaves substantial portion of funding to be committed by the State Government,” the ministry’s letter states, justifying the demand.
Speaking to The Indian Express on Friday, JU vice-chancellor Suranjan Das said, “At the time of application, we did not know that this was a precondition to become an IoE. If you look at the guidelines as well, it doesn’t state anything about the state government’s financial commitment. It’s not possible for the state government to commit so much money for one institution.”
The West Bengal education minister had earlier criticised the Centre for allegedly adding a last-minute rider that the state government would have to provide a matching grant.According to ministry sources, the Tamil Nadu government has informally agreed to commit Rs 1,750 for Anna University. Their formal communication is expected soon, said the ministry official.
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