Jio Institute Issue: More Doors Open for Big Corporates?by Opinion Express July 29, 2018 0 comments
The recent issue where the HRD Ministry bestowed a tag of “Institute of Eminence” the on non-existent Jio Institute of Reliance has sparked some legitimate fires among people. What is the Government up to? Time for big corporates to step into the higher education sector, just like they did in the health sector?
India is passing through a critical phase, where learning from holy scriptures influences major decisions of the institutions of the Government. The reference point here is non-existent Jio Institute of Reliance, which has hogged the limelight after the HRD Ministry bestowed on it the “Institute of Eminence” tag; albeit the Government later clarified it is only letter of intent for three years.
As Jio institute has bagged the Eminence status even at its conception, one may wonder whether the Government had in mind the story of “Abhimanyu learning to penetrate Chakravyuh in his mother’s womb”.
Now, the moot question is: will the tragedy of Abhimanyu be repeated?
Soon after the HRD Ministry gifted the status to Jio, social media was replete with sarcasm and criticism of the Government. This forced the Government to issue clarification. The Ministry justified its decision on two basis: first, Jio Institute is a greenfield investment, which has potential to match with the world-class standard. Second, the Government denied prejudice charge by saying that the decision was in accordance with UGC rules, which were modified in September 2017.
Vinay Sheel Oberoi was the Higher Education Secretary in the HRD Ministry during the modification in the UGC rules. It is easy to understand that the blueprint of the “Institute of Eminence” scheme was prepared under Oberoi’s leadership. After retirement, Oberoi has been employed as Adviser in the area of education to the Reliance Foundation. The presentation on Jio Institute, given by Mukesh Ambani, before the four member the Empowered Expert Committee was prepared with the help of Oberoi.
Therefore, it is believed that Oberoi played a key role in securing the Eminence status for Jio Institute and in this process he utilised his experience as well as loopholes of the mechanism.
While justifying and defending the Government decision, the HRD Minister tweeted, “Improving ranking needs sustained planning, complete freedom & public institutes getting public funding.” And, the Government hopes to achieve all this through this decision.
However, if the Government is really serious about it, then it should clarify its stand on Nalanda International University.
The episode is demotivating for those institutions who have been making continuous endeavour to build up their reputations during the decades. Jio Institute of the Reliance Foundation is a symbol of corporate-political nexus in “New India”, where policy making is being influenced by big corporates.
The message of this Government is clear: like the health sector, it is going to open higher education sector for big corporates.
(The writer is an academician and trains IAS aspirants)
Writer: Kumar Sarvesh
Source: The Pioneer