Tharoor says 20 new IITs, Raju says none

A difference of opinion seems to have stemmed within the Union ministry of human resource development as minister M.M. Pallam Raju and the minister of state in his ministry Shashi Tharoor made two contradictory statements in Parliament on Wednesday over the setting up of the premier Indian Institutes of technology (IITs). While Mr Raju in a written reply in Parliament indicated that the government would not establish new Central universities or IITs in the near future, Mr Tharoor informed the Hou-se that the ministry had approved a scheme for setting up 20 IITs in PPP mode.
“Right now, our effort should be on consolidating what we have created,” Mr Raju said replying to supplementaries in the House on setting up new IITs and Central Universities. He said government’s attempt would be to get the disciplines going, improve the kind of qualitative research that is happening in the IITs that have been newly established.
In a separate reply, Mr Tharoor said that the government had approved a scheme for setting up 20 IITs in PPP mode with an overall outlay of `2,808.71 crores. “While land for the purpose would be made available free of cost by state governments concerned, an IIT would be established at a capital cost of `128 crores each to be contributed in ratio of 50:35:15 by centre, state and industry partner respectively.” He added.
Mr Raju also seemed to contradict Mr Tharoor on the standards of IITs. On concerns of members over Indian institutions missing from the list of top 100 institutes world over, Mr Raju said the parameters used in these international ratings did not necessarily apply to Indian institutions.
“These ranking systems use different values, indi-ces and parameters to rank higher educational institutions. These criteria are neither universally accepted nor recognised and are therefore sometimes subjected to criticism in academic circles,” he said.

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Much as I am tempted to see the fuss over Ved Pratap Vaidik’s posturing as a warning against busybodies and meddlers, wholesale condemnation of what is known as Track Two diplomacy might be unfair.

There is considerable speculation about when the Planning Commission will be reconstituted and who will occupy the largest room in Yojana Bhavan.