Scientist R A Mashelkar, head of National Innovation Foundation under the Department of Science and Technology and also the chief of Reliance Innovation Council, has been chosen to lead the Reliance Foundation’s proposed Jio Institute as Chancellor, The Indian Express reported.
Dipak C Jain, former director of Sasin Graduate Institute of Business Administration in Bangkok, also features on the list as the Vice-Chancellor (V-C) of Jio Institute, the report added.
The yet to be established 'Jio Institute' by Reliance Foundation is already in the fray to becoming an 'Institution of Eminence' (IoE) along with IISc, IIT-Delhi, IIT-Bombay, and others, under a government scheme.
The public institutions chosen would get Rs 1,000 crore in funding and autonomy from stringent regulations while private ones would get autonomy but no money.
But the inclusion of the institute has stirred a hornet’s nest.
Prakash Javadekar’s announcement on Jio Institute being labelled an ‘Institute of Eminence’ drew flak as it barely found mention before the union minister spoke about it in his tweet. As people questioned the institute’s establishment and pedigree, the HRD Ministry clarified that academies could also earn the label as long as they were deemed to be universities and met certain criteria significant to becoming an ‘Institute of Eminence’, as was the case with Jio Institute.
In April this year, the Reliance Foundation during a presentation told the Empowered Expert Committee (EEC) that Jain and Mashelkar, both board members at the Reliance Industries, will form the core group, offering leadership support to set up the institution over the next three years, reported the daily.
Mashelkar, is a former Director-General of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) from 1995 to 2006. Since his exit from CSIR in 2006, he joined the Reliance Industries in 2007 as an independent board member, the Express report cited.
He has also reportedly served as the Prime Minister’s Scientific Advisory Council from 1988 to 1990 and 2004 to 2014.
While Jain, who is also a member on the RIL Board, served as the Dean at Kellogg School of Management from 2001 to 2009 and later, as the Dean of another B-school INSEAD from 2011 to 2013, the report added.
Assessing Potential “Exceedingly Difficult”: Expert Committee Panel
Since the institute has no physical presence yet and cannot boast of “track record” or “achievements”, The Indian Express quoted EEC’s report, stating that the task to “assess its potential is exceedingly difficult”.
In its defence, the HRD Minister earlier clarified that the Empowered Expert Committee (EEC) has granted the ‘Greenfield’ status for new institutes to Jio since it fulfilled all the parameters.
Interestingly, while Delhi University had to discontinue its four-year undergraduate course in 2014 after the NDA government deemed it illegal, the committee accepted Jio Institute’s plan to offer the same, The Indian Express reported.
The JIO Institute of Eminence’s “Management Breakup”
The Board of Management (BoM), headed by the V-C, will have the Provost, Dean Research, Executive Vice President and nominees of the GC and Reliance Foundation as members that will govern the administration, cited the IE report.
As nominees of the sponsoring organisation, founding members Mukesh Ambani and Nita Ambani, will be the first members of the Governing Council, the report cited.
Besides, the Chancellor, V-C, a maximum of six experts from academia, industry and related fields and another seven members nominated by the Reliance Foundation will form the highest policy-making body of the institute’s governing council, IE reported on the presentation made by Reliance Foundation.
‘10,000 Students by 15th Year of Operation’: Jio’s Roadmap
The institute is set to become operational in three years and will have its foundations laid on a sprawling 800-acre campus in Karjat near Navi Mumbai, the report stated. The school will reportedly have 10 schools offering over 50 disciplines, including humanities, engineering, medical sciences, among others.
The Foundation is said to have earmarked 9,500 crores for the institute’s funding and plans to enroll 10,000 students with faculty from the top 500 global universities.
(With inputs from The Indian Express)
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