Published: 20th August 2019
Unfair that IIT Madras gets funded, but we don't: Can Anna University cough up Rs 1750 crore for IoE tag?
Jadavpur University and Anna University were both taken aback by the new norm since the State governments may not be able to afford more than 50 percent of the funds
Anna University didn't get much of a chance to celebrate its 'Institue of Eminence' tag since the administration was also surprised by the added rider that the state government had to cough up 50 percent of the funds needed — a whopping Rs 1750 crore — funding that would ensure the University gets its IoE tag. Caught between a rock and a hard place, Anna University VC M K Surappa is trying to establish a dialogue with the Centre to waive this new condition partially. "We are hoping to convince the Centre to give us Rs 1000 crore as it is not such a big amount for them, we can ask for the rest from the State. I'm hoping they will waive off this 50 per cent state contribution condition," he said.
Anna University VC Prof M K Surappa said he also had no knowledge of this condition when they were applying for the IoE status, "This rule was suddenly brought in. When we made the presentation for the status we were not made aware of such a norm." The VC is now trying to speak with the MHRD to waive the new condition.
Jadavpur University and Anna University were both taken aback by the new norm since the State government would not be able to afford the funds. A Jadavpur University official had earlier said that they were barely able to meet their expenses with their current budget and they could not expect much from the State government. In an interview with NewsClick, a JU official had said that might not have even applied for the IoE tag if they had known about the clause. MHRD sources told us that if JU decided to forfeit their IoE candidature, the varsities that were next on the list would be offered the IoE status.
In Charge: Anna University VC Prof M K Surappa said he also had no knowledge of this condition when they were applying for the IoE status
Despite all the good work Anna University has put in, the IoE tag still appears elusive as it is a question of funding - which the cash-starved varsity will need to raise quickly, "It is unfair that they are willing to give the funds to the IIT down the street but don't want to give us. We are one of the top in the country and the only University in the state to get this recognition. The Centre should not discriminate against state universities and central universities, they are both equally important," the VC said.
Surappa said the 1000 crores were for the first five years and so 200 crores every year was not a big deal for the Centre, "Universities in the state sector must also be included and treated on par with centrally funded institutes."
The VC is still to hold talks with the State government but said he will try to convince them to support them as much as they can. "The state should also support us because we are the only University to get the IoE status, so we hope the state government will also contribute to the funding. If the Centre declines our request then we have to ask the state to give us the remaining funding as well," he added. In an interview with TNIE, Tamil Nadu's Higher Education Secretary Mangat Ram Sharma had said that the state would do whatever necessary to aid the process of getting the IoE tag, but not much has happened since.
However, Jadavpur University VC Prof Suranjan Das and Surappa have decided to approach the MHRD to make their appeal to waive off this new condition, "We'll have to wait and see how they will respond to our request and then take things from there. In the meanwhile, I will also have to speak to state government officials," Surappa said.