New Delhi: Environment
and Forests Minister Jairam Ramesh's comment on IITs and IIMs not
having world-class faculty led to a debate Tuesday among political
parties, academicians and students.
While Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal and alumni
supported Ramesh's view, the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party
(BJP) slammed the minister for blaming the institutions for
Ramesh had Monday said the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs)
and the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs), the country's top
educational institutions, were surviving only because of their
quality students but did not have world-class faculty.
Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal Tuesday agreed
that India lacked in world-class standards.
"In the situation today, is even one of our institutions world
class? If it is world class, it must be in the top 100, 150
institutions in the world. That is not evident," Sibal said.
Sibal also said the environment minister must be talking about his
"Of course, Jairam is talking about himself because he is a world
class student and he is an IITian himself, so he has insider
knowledge himself," Sibal told NDTV.
Slamming the statement, the BJP said India can have such
institutions only when it has "world-class ministers".
"We'll not have world class institutions till we have world class
ministers," party spokesman Rajiv Pratap Rudy told reporters
"The BJP would like to state categorically that we are proud of
the IITs and the IIMs. All over the world, the presence of India
is marked by IITs and IIMs," he said.
The Congress, while maintaining that the IITs and IIMs are world
class institutions, questioned the BJP's right to make the
"As far as IITs and IIMs are concerned there is no ambiguity about
their contribution to Indian academia. I do not know in what
context he (Ramesh) has made this remark. He is really the best
person to answer that," said Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari.
"We do not appreciate comments from third class people on who
should be first class and who should not be," he added.
While the political battle brewed, academicians, students and
alumni had mixed response on the issue.
Alumni associations from the IIT-Delhi and IIT-Kharagpur demanded
higher salary and perks for the faculty to attract new minds and
sustain IIT's brand globally.
"The current pay scales of IIT faculty are very unattractive. A
fresh graduate attracts more salary," IIT Kharagpur Alumni
Association member Y.P.S. Suri told IANS.
Programme director of the IIT Delhi Alumni Association V.K. Saluja
"We appeal to the government to make faculty salary levels
inspiring enough to attract new minds. Adding new IITs has made
this problem more acute and hence the urgency of the matter," he
Disagreeing, Sebastian Morris, a professor at IIM-Ahmedabad, said
if faulty had no role, students would have been recruited directly
after the joint entrance exams (JEE) for the IITs or the common
aptitude test (CAT) for the IIMs.
"If only good students have made to the IITs and the IIMs, then
the question is why don't recruiting agencies offer jobs directly
to those who score high on JEE and CAT. Surely organisations can
do without the training that these 'mundane' institutions
provide," Morris told IANS.
"Also many IIT and IIM faculty are themselves alumni of these very
institutions or have degrees from world class institutions. If
indeed the majority of the faculty have such pedigree, then by
Jairam's own admission of the students being good, the faculty (at
least as individuals) should be excellent," he added.