New Delhi: The six older Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), the three top Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs), Indian School of Business (ISB) and Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) are among 100 institutions seeking to become ‘world class’ universities under a government plan.

“Overall 100 applications have been received. Under public sector, 10 central universities, 25 state universities, six deemed to be universities, 20 institutions of national importance and 6 standalone institutions have applied," the human resource development (HRD) ministry said in a statement.

“Under Private Sector, 9 private universities and 16 deemed to be universities have applied in brownfield category, and 8 Institutions have applied in greenfield category," the HRD ministry said.

The central government is looking to establish 20 world class universities—10 each in the public and private sectors. In the private sector, both existing or brownfield, and completely new institutions can apply.

Though the HRD ministry did not divulge names, a ministry official said Reliance Foundation was one of the key applicants for building a university under the scheme.

The government aims to grant academic and regulatory freedom to institutions under the scheme, besides extra funds to public sector institutions help them climb the global league table.

Though Mint could not independently verify Reliance Foundations’ application, Mukesh Ambani, chairman and managing director of Reliance Industries, had indicated his interest at the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit earlier this month.

“So as we move forward, we think about more and more difficult issues that create value for all Indians. I think that agriculture is difficult and that is something that needs to be taken. Education is important. And healthcare is the most difficult. So, we would clearly think about what we can do in each one of these areas," Ambani had said at the summit.

HRD minister Prakash Javadekar said the response was overwhelming and that the move will not only improve the “quality of education, but also propel competition in the entire education sector".

The deadline for submitting applications under the scheme ended on Tuesday.

The selection will be made through a challenge method. The schools which will finally get selected will be provided with greater autonomy like permission to “admit foreign students up to 30% of admitted students; to recruit foreign faculty up to 25% of faculty strength; to offer online courses for up to 20% of its programmes; to enter into academic collaboration with top 500 world ranking Institutions without permission of UGC (University Grants Commission); free to fix and charge fees from foreign students without restriction..."

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