Partha Chatterjee’s cheat barb at Centre on JU
Education minister Partha Chatterjee said on Saturday that the Centre’s new rider that the state would have to bear half the Rs 1,000-crore aid if Jadavpur University were to earn the institution of eminence tag “amounts to cheating”.
“The human resource development ministry prior to the election maintained that it would bear the entire burden while awarding the status to a state-funded university like JU. Now that the elections are over, they are coming up with new conditions that the state has to bear half the burden for JU to be eligible to earn the status. This amounts to cheating,” he told Metro.
The University Grants Commission (UGC) had announced on Friday that it would consult with the state government about the matching grant before deciding on whether tag would be awarded to Jadavpur University.
It has slapped the same condition on Anna University in Tamil Nadu.
The committee met on Friday to announce the names of more institutes that have been recommended for the status.
To grant the eminence tag, an empowered expert committee of the UGC had drawn up a list of eight institutions in July last year. JU had figured at number 7 on the list.
JU had then missed out as the UGC had picked three institutes — Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, IIT, Bombay, and IIT, Delhi — from the list. Each institute would get “financial assistance up to Rs 1,000 crore over a period of five years under this scheme”.
Those who missed out were assured that they “shall be considered… at a later stage”.
A varsity official, who was part of the presentation team that went to Delhi in June last year, said they were not told about the matching condition.
“The procedure involved an application cost of Rs 1 crore. As the university did not have the fund, we sourced it from the alumni. The information brochure did not state anything about the matching grant. In that case, we
would have consulted with the state government before submitting the application. We have come to know about the new clause on Friday,” he said.
Though JU vice-chancellor Suranjan Das declined to comment on the issue, he said: “I would like to wait for the official communication before commenting on this.”
Asked whether the government would give its consent on providing matching grant to JU, education minister Chatterjee said: “We are not agreeable to the condition. They cannot slap conditions all of a sudden.”
Another official said, when the university last year had applied for the Rs 100crore grant under the Rashtriya Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan— a central scheme that provides financial impetus to select state universities to upgrade infrastructure and research capabilities — they were aware that 40 per cent of the corpus would come from the state government.
“In fact we had signed a memorandum of understanding with the Centre on the basis of this clause. We have started receiving the fund under this clause from last November. But in case of institution of eminence, we were not aware of any such clause. We doubt whether the state government would give its consent to the condition,” he said.