New Delhi: A government panel has recommended 19 more institutions, including several universities backed by corporate houses, for the status of institutes of eminence (IoE).

The human resource development (HRD) ministry said an empowered committee has suggested 12 private and seven government universities for final consideration.

Earlier this year, the centre had announced the names of six institutions for the institutes of eminence status, three each from the private and government space.

Azim Premji University in Karnataka, Shiv Nadar University in Uttar Pradesh, O.P. Jindal Global University, Satya Bharti University and Ashoka University (all in Haryana), and Vellore Institute of Technology, Tamil Nadu, were some of the names that found a place on the recommended list the institutes of eminence status.

“The committee has recommended the names and a final decision will be taken by the University Grants Commission (UGC) soon for the the institutes of eminence tag," said a human resource development ministry spokesperson.

The human resource development ministry’s move on Friday to make the names public may douse a controversy that erupted after the yet-to-be established Jio Institute, backed by the Reliance Foundation, was given the institute of eminence tag along with Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore, in the first phase of the selection process earlier this year.

Also read: Panel recommends special grants, autonomy for top stand-alone institutes

The other institutes given the tag in the first phase were the Indian Institutes of Technology Bombay and Delhi from the public sector and the Birla Institute of Technology and Science, Pilani, and Manipal Academy of Higher Education in the private sector.

The institute of eminence status is seen as a move by the government to reduce regulatory control on top class institutions.

“The world class university plan aims at giving 20 top institutions the IoE tag and the required freedom for making it big in the world stage. We have 30 names now, of which a final call on 20—10 each in the private and public space—will be taken soon," a senior human resource development ministry official said requesting anonymity.

The final list includes the six names already given the IoE status, he said.

The University Grants Commission is set to meet next week to take a final call on these names. The move assumes significance as India seeks to enhance its performance and global rankings with none of its top schools finding a place in the top 100 university rankings in the world.

While the government-run IoE institutions will get a grant of 1,000 crore each for improving their quality and global standing, all IoEs including the private ones will enjoy freedom in terms of academic, financial and administrative matters.

Other than the universities backed by corporate houses, the Krea University in Andhra Pradesh, which is less than a year old and is backed by industry leaders and eminent academicians including S. Ramadorai and Raghuram Rajan, has found a place in the recommended list.

Banaras Hindu University (BHU), Tezpur University, Hyderabad University, Aligarh Muslim University and Panjab University in Chandigarh were also among those shortlisted.

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