On 28th January 2019, The Print published a story claiming that Modi government is hesitating in giving Institute of Eminence (IoE) status to several private universities due to an IB note with adverse remarks about the universities. According to the report, Intelligence Bureau (IB) has said that persons associated with the universities are critical of Narendra Modi and BJP. The Print says that IB sent its report to the Human Resources Development Ministry in the last month.
The report lists Ashoka University, KREA University, Azim Premji University as the institutions red-flagged by IB.
But according to the Education Secretary of the HRD ministry, no such IB report on those universities has been received by the ministry. Reacting to the report by The Print, R. Subrahmanyam, who is the Higher Education Secretary in the ministry, tweeted that his department has not received any such report from IB, and hence the report is not correct.
There is no such IB report on these Institutions received by the Ministry.
The matter will be examined by the UGC in it’s meeting tomorrow purely based on merits.
— R. Subrahmanyam (@subrahyd) January 28, 2019
Subrahmanyam also informed that UGC will take up the matter relating to granting the IoE status to more universities which was scheduled for today.
It is also important to note that the universities named as red-flagged by IB has actually been included in recommendations by the Empowered Expert Committee (EEC) for granting the status. The EEC has been formed by the HRD ministry to select Institutions of Eminence. Today, the committee suggested that the number of IoEs should be increased to 30 from the current proposal of 20.
Moreover, the committee had submitted a list of 19 institutions for granting the status in December, and this list included Ashoka University, KREA university and Azim Premji University, against which there are adverse IB report as per Print. HRD ministry has already submitted the names with the UGC, and the matter is pending with UGC only. If the government was hesitating with the institutions, they would not have included the names in the list submitted to the UGC.
Earlier, EEC had recommended 11 names for the IoE status, out of which 6 were finally granted the status. Now the committee recommends that remaining five from the earlier list and the additional 19 institutions should be granted the status, taking the total to 30.
Therefore, this proves that the report by The Print is wrong and there is no IB report submitted with the HRD ministry in the ministry. The portal is a habitual offender and regularly publishes fake stories. Moreover, even after their stories are completely refuted by relevant authorities, they just update the story with the clarification, instead of retracting the story. Their stories are often attributed to sources with no proof given for claims made by them.