Jagdeep Dhankhar pledges eminence tag help for Jadavpur University
Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar said on Friday that he would take steps to ensure that Jadavpur University got the Institution of Eminence status, a tag that the varsity had missed out on despite being considered by the UGC for it.
Dhankhar, who is the JU chancellor, had gone to the campus on Friday to attend a meeting of the university’s court.
The tag was expected to fetch the university Rs 1,000 crore over five years since being awarded the status, said a varsity official.
The university authorities alleged JU had missed the status after the central government came up with a condition in August that the state government would have to provide more than a matching grant to enable the state university to earn the honour.
“In their proposal, the JU has projected an investment of Rs 3,300 crore for next five years (after getting eminence status). It is true that they have proposed Rs 1,015 crore under various development projects to achieve excellence after getting IoE status. This money of Rs 1,015 crore they expect from us. The central government will give its share as applicable. There has to be commitment from the state government for remaining amount,” Union higher education secretary R Subrahmanyam had told this newspaper in September.
But a JU university official clarified that they had sought funds for a proposed investment of Rs 1,015 crore exclusively meant for different development and improvement projects.
“We gave a figure on how the expenditure would increase to 3,300 crore over the next five years with the infusion of Rs 1,015 crore grant. We never sought funds for that. We have specific plans for sourcing that expenditure and this was explained in the report sent in December 2017. They have misinterpreted it,” said the official.
Dhankhar made the promise to intervene in getting the IoE status after Jadavpur University vice-chancellor Suranjan Das had briefed the chancellor during the court meeting on why the university could not make the cut for the tag.
“I indicated to the court that Jadavpur University is a unique university. It has a global reputation and it deserves the status of Institution of Eminence. We will work in togetherness to get that status,” Dhankhar had said in his briefing after the meeting of the court had ended. The court meeting was convened to decide on the names of DLitt and DSc recipients.
“Das had informed Dhankhar that the university in 2017 had submitted a proposal for Rs 1,015 crore over a period of five years in keeping with a December 2017 UGC guideline. There was no mention of any matching grant to be given from the state government. Das also informed that the Centre in August had escalated the cost to Rs 3,000 crore and pledged to provide grants to the extent of 50% to 75% of the total requirement or Rs 1,000 crore whichever is less, and said the remaining amount would be borne by the state government and the university,” said the official.
The state government has so far refused to abide by the condition.
When asked Das declined comment. The Empowered Committee of UGC had selected JU in July 2018 for the status along with a host of central institutions.
But the five institutions awarded the eminence tag on August 5 were IIT Madras, BHU, IIT Kharagpur, Delhi University and Hyderabad University.
A JU official said among the state universities, JU happens to be largest recipient of the central funds.
“We depend on the state grant primarily for maintenance and paying salaries. But we have to depend on assistance from agencies such as the department of science and technology (DST), department of bio technology (DBT), Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CISR), and the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). Over the past one few years there has been a massive cut in the assistance,” said an official who looks after the funding of the university.
“Therefore we are feeling the pinch of the reduction the most. We were dearly looking forward to receiving the IoE status that could bring us substantial grant. We hope that the chancellor will play a proactive role in resolving the constraints, enabling the university bag the status,” he said.
Like the Institution of Eminence status, the university had this year missed out on another recognition from the Centre despite being in the contention.
In December lat year, the university had figured on the list of eight institutes across the country vying for the tag Sophisticated Analytical Instrument Facilities (SAIF) to be given to four.
The selected four will get a Rs 125-crore central grant.
But when the announcement was made in June, only three institutes were awarded the status and the list did not include JU.