The state government’s efforts to get the right names to resurrect the Indian Institute of Information Technology (IIIT) seem to have paid off. After getting IBM’s confirmation for hardware support and a state-of-the-art laboratory at the Salt Lake-based institute, the government has now found an able ally in Reliance Industries, no less.
The Rs 58,000-crore company, says Writers’ Buildings, is ready to lend both its name (read, Dhirubhai Ambani Institute of Information Technology) and resources to the tech school that has been limping along for the past two-and-a-half-years.
A Reliance spokesperson, when contacted in Mumbai, did not deny the news of the Fortune 500 firm’s first foray into education in Bengal, but declined further comment.
“From Day One, we have been committed to the improvement of IIIT. The government has done its bit to make it a centre of excellence. We have always believed that the institute needs proper branding and association with corporates and that’s why we have approached companies like IBM and Reliance,” said Mohammad Salim, minister, technical education, on Tuesday.
According to a senior official in the IT department, minister Manab Mukherjee met Reliance chairman Mukesh Ambani in Mumbai on September 18.
“In the course of the meeting, Ambani pledged Reliance’s association with IIIT to convert it into a centre of excellence along the lines of the Dhirubhai Ambani Institute of Information and Communication in Ahmedabad,” he added. A Reliance team is scheduled to visit the institute and seal the deal shortly.
“Reliance Infocomm plans to unveil a host of services in the state by the middle of next year, for which they will need qualified personnel. So, it makes sense for them to get involved with an institute here,” added the senior IT official.
The Reliance brand name is expected to lift the cloud of confusion that has shrouded the fledgling institute once touted by the state government as the “centre of excellence in IT education” that would go on to match the IITs.
The institute appeared to hit a dead-end after students cried foul over “poor academic infrastructure”, and then the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) refused to grant it the necessary affiliation.
To resolve the impasse, the government brought the institute under the fold of the higher education department.