Reliance Industries Ltd is planning to invest around Rs 1,500 crore in its proposed university, Jio Institute, in the next two years, it has informed the government's Empowered Expert Committee (EEC). The Indian conglomerate is looking to create a world-class centre of learning across 800 acres in Karjat near Navi Mumbai.
The Mukesh Ambani-led group also informed the government that it is in talks with the academic and institutional experts at Stanford University and Northwestern University in the US as well as Nanyang Technological University in Singapore for setting up the facility, the Economic Times reported citing sources.
This development comes after the EEC, which is the monitoring authority for all Institutes of Eminence had in April voiced its displeasure to the Jio team over delays in opening the institute.
Ambanis' Jio University which was the only Greenfield institute chosen as an Institute of Eminence by the NDA government in 2018 had been embroiled in a controversy in the past. There was a heated debate as many people and academicians questioned the government as to on what basis the Institute which doesn't exist can be selected as an Institute of Eminence.
Reliance Foundation's Jio Institute was among six colleges that have been selected as Institutions of Eminence - a status that will ensure complete autonomy and facilitate them to make a mark in global rankings.
Apart from Jio Institute - which is yet to established, other five institutions were Indian Institute of Science- Bangalore, IIT-Bombay, IIT-Delhi, Birla Institute of Technology and Sciences (known as BITS-Pilani) and Manipal Academy of Higher Education.
Sensing the anger, the Ministry of Human Resource Development then came out with an explanation on how Jio Institute was accorded such a coveted status despite having no physical infrastructure in place. According to the government, Jio Institute was given this tag under Greenfield Project - purpose of which was to allow responsible private investment to build global class educational infrastructure. There were four parameters on which all applications were judged.
The parameters were: (a) availability of land for construction of the institution, (b) putting in place a core team with very high qualification and wide experience, (c)making available funding for setting up the institution and (d) a strategic vision plan with clear annual milestone and action plan. "The Committee (selection committee) has come to a conclusion that out of the 11 applications, only Jio Institute satisfied all the four parameters, and hence was recommended for issuing a letter of intent for setting up an Institute of Eminence," the HRD Ministry had said. The Ministry also clarified that the private institutions under the project will not get funding from the government.
The selected Institutes of Eminence have the freedom to determine the fees for domestic students, on the condition that no student who clears the criteria for admission is turned away due to lack of money. These top-class institutes can also fix and charge fees from foreign students without restriction.