New Delhi: The Reliance Foundation’s proposed multidisciplinary university, Jio Institute, is likely to be ready by this year, three years after it was declared an Institute of Eminence (IoE) by the Narendra Modi government, ThePrint has learnt.
Jio was awarded the IoE status in 2018 under the ‘Greenfield’ category, meant for new or proposed institutions that are yet to come into existence. It was given a letter of intent at the time and was given time until July 2021 to establish itself and submit a readiness report to the government.
According to the Ministry of Education, it received the Jio Institute’s readiness report on 7 December 2020. A visit to the institute’s Navi Mumbai campus followed last month, and its report is awaited.
In an emailed response to queries regarding the institute’s status, the ministry said, “The institute has submitted its readiness report to the ministry on December 7, 2020. The Readiness report was forwarded to the University Grants Commission on December 9 as per Clause 8.4 (h) of the UGC (Institutions of Eminence Deemed to be Universities) Regulations, 2017.”
It added: “Further, Spot visit to assess the readiness of the institute has been conducted on 22-23rd January, 2021. Awaiting the report of Expert Empowered Committee (EEC).”
An EEC member told ThePrint the report would be submitted to the government “soon”.
“The institute was supposed to let us know when it’s ready and we were to then conduct a spot visit. The visit is done and we will soon submit a report to the government on the basis of which an MoU can be signed,” said the member, who did not wish to be named.
“Jio was given time till this year to come up with a readiness plan and start functioning, and we are hoping it should do that well within time, by July this year,” the member added.
ThePrint reached the Jio Institute spokesperson via email for a comment but there was no response until the time of publishing this report.
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The eminence tag controversy
The IoE tag allows private institutions freedom from regulators and greater autonomy, and provides for funding to public institutions.
The government has so far selected 20 institutions as IoE under the scheme, including the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Delhi, IIT-Bombay, IIT-Madras, Delhi University, and Banaras Hindu University among public institutions, and Birla Institute of Technology and Science, Pilani, and Jio Institute among the private ones.
There was controversy in 2018 when the Jio Institute was given the IoE status as it was yet to be built.
The Modi government had to later clarify that the institute was given the status under the ‘Greenfield’ category, which allows the institute time to establish itself before the government signs an MoU with it.
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