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Sundar Pichai, Satya Nadella, Indra Nooyi in shortlist to pick India’s top 20 universities

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Five names from a list of 36 will select the ‘Institutes of Eminence’. 100 institutes have applied for the coveted status expected to be conferred this summer.

New Delhi: Google CEO Sundar Pichai, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi, New Development Bank chairman K.V. Kamath, Chief Economic Advisor Arvind Subramanian – these are among 36 top names shortlisted by the government to help select India’s 20 world class ‘Institutes of Eminence’, ThePrint has learnt.

The government is expected to pick five names from this list of 36 to form the much-awaited Empowered Expert Committee (EEC) which will be the final authority to select the 20 institutes from a list of 100 that have applied for the coveted status.

The Cabinet Secretary chaired a meeting Tuesday evening to select the EEC members for a three-year term. The EEC is expected to select the 20 institutes as early as this summer.

Conceived and formulated under the close scrutiny of the Prime Minister’s Office, this high priority project aims to catapult Indian institutes to global recognition. The Centre has promised unprecedented academic and administrative autonomy to the chosen 20. Ten of these will be government-run and receive special funding.

The experts of eminence

The EEC is critical to the concept of ‘Institutes of Eminence’ and the government wants its members to be above board. It is also felt that members with global work experience may help these institutes achieve global status.

The EEC will recommend names of the chosen institutes to the University Grants Commission. It will also monitor and review these 20 institutions of eminence to ensure quality, decide on appeals, liquidation of corpus fund if needed, verify compliance to financial requirements if required, assess deviations from goals and standards identified.

Since the notorious UGC inspection regime is being waived for these institutes, a disclosure-cum-review mechanism will be brought in for which the EEC  may rope in foreign experts.

The EEC will review the institutes once in three years for adherence to their implementation plan until they achieve the top 100 global ranking slot for two consecutive years. The institutes will also have to inform the EEC every year about their progress and may be asked to address deficiencies or face penal action if they fail to deliver.

The shortlist

The list of 36 includes Principal Economic Advisor Sanjeev Sanyal, former Niti Aayog vice chairman Arvind Panagariya and former RBI governor D. Subbarao.

It has prominent academics such as Prof. P. Balaram, former director of the Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru; Prof Deepak Nayyar, former vice-chancellor of Delhi University; and Prof. Ashok Mishra and M.S. Ananth, former directors of IIT-Bombay and IIT-Madras respectively.

A number of well-known Indian academics in top positions in foreign universities are also on the shortlist.

They include Harvard Business School dean Nitin Nohria; the Arthur Lowes Dickinson Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School, Srikant Datar; Harvard Business School economic strategist Tarun Khanna; University of California, Berkeley, dean Shankar Sastry; MIT neuroscientist Mriganka Sur; University of California, San Diego, chancellor Pradeep Khosla; and President of Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University Subra Suresh, among others.

The Indian corporate sector is represented by Maruti Suzuki chairman R.C. Bhargava, former CEO of HDFC Standard Life Insurance Deepak Satwalekar, and former CEO of L&T K. Venkataraman.

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  1. My guess –
    We will have all IITs and IIMs in this list….after all, most of the panel is from these Institutes.
    Then BHU and IIT (Varanasi) too will make it to this list…..after all, Prime Minister NaMo is from Varanasi Constituency.
    This is for sure.
    Now, that means all other State-level Universities are damned to be that way for the rest of the 21st Century.
    ….and NaMo says he wants to improve education? Focus on the grassroot-level Universities for a sustainable India.

    What Indian Universities are suffering from and languishing is because of lack of quality faculty apart from the poltiics amongst academia! Please look at the sanctioned strength of faculty versus the actual available faculty in the Universities’ Departments. It is pathetic.

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