The HRD Ministry's selection of the yet-to-be-established Jio Institute by Reliance Foundation as an "Institution of Eminence" reflected "brazen cronyism", the CPI(M) today said and alleged that the decision underlined the obsession of the government to promote privatisation in higher education.
Attacking the government for its decision, the Left party said in a statement that it was "bewildering" that the Jio Institute, which is non-existent and notional, had been given that status solely on a "drawing board" projection.
"The politburo of the CPI(M) condemns this move of the government which cannot be construed as anything but brazen cronyism. It will have a debilitating effect on the entire sphere of higher education underlining the obsession of the government to promote privatisation and undermining public funded higher education," the statement said.
The party has alleged that even though some time back, the government had constituted a committee headed by former chief election commissioner N Gopalaswami to identify these institutions, the entire exercise and the considerations had "remained largely outside the public domain".
The government had announced that twenty institutions, ten each of the public funded institutions and in the private sector, would be selected as institutions of eminence but now the HRD Ministry has come out with an announcement that the total number will be reduced from twenty to just six and one of the chosen three private institutions is Reliance Foundation's Jio Institute, the party said.
The CPI(M) noted that for an institution to stand the test of time and evolve into a truly 'world class' institution of higher learning and research is a challenging process and it takes great perseverance and creativity to earn that tag of eminence.
The CPI also criticised the move.
"It is a retrograde move, brazenly patronising the corporates...In case of Jio Institute, it is yet to start (functioning), how could the government give such a status? This needs to be condemned," CPI leader D Raja said.
The government yesterday granted "Institution of Eminence" (IoE) 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 in the private sector.
The selection of the yet-to-be-established Jio Institute as one of the six "Institutions of Eminence" drew sharp criticism from various quarters.
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