Days before the National Rail and Transport University (NRTU) is set to commence classes for its first batch from August 1 this year, the Ministry of Railways is already vying to put the country’s first rail university on the list of elite institutions, in line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s plan to develop it as an ‘institution of eminence.’
During a meeting with the Railway Board last month, the PM said the rail university should be developed as an ‘institution of eminence’ – one of the top 20 Indian higher education centres – so that it was on the list of top 500 institutes globally within 10 years, and among top 100 eventually.
According to sources, the PM was informed at the meet that the Ministry of Railways was already preparing to present its case on the matter before the University Grant Commission’s empowered expert committee (EEC), which is tasked to select 10 public and 10 private institutes to be developed as ‘institutions of eminence.’ The UGC has already assessed the infrastructure preparedness on the ground, sources in Vadodara told The Indian Express.
While a decision to include a institute on the elite list lies with the UGC committee, officials said the effort for the same has been underway from the beginning to raise the bar of university which is essentially the PM’s brainchild.
In fact, ever since Modi tasked the Railways with the job to create a university in 2014 for modern research and manpower capacity building in the transport sector, the Rail Bhawan has been struggling to give the job a shape.
Sources say, Railway Minister Piyush Goyal and the Railway Board under Chairman Ashwani Lohani made it a top priority project soon after assuming office last year. After the Union Cabinet approved the project to set up the NRTU on the National Academy of Indian Railways campus in Vadodara, Gujarat, in December last year, Lohani has been personally monitoring the progress, sources said. The physical progress recently got a thumbs up from the Prime Minister.