Facing criticism for his earlier comments on IIT and IIM faculty, environment minister Jairam Ramesh took a U-turn and praised the institutions on Friday. He also said that he has a long association with the premier institutions.
Earlier this week, Mr Ramesh had said the faculties and research of the IITs and IIMs are not at par with similar facilities and faculties elsewhere in the world. Objecting to Mr Ramesh’s view, HRD minister Kapil Sibal had said Thursday the government had “complete trust in the creative potential” of the teaching staff in these premier institutes.
“My association with IIT goes back to 1963 and not many people can claim a 48-year-old association with IIT,” Mr Ramesh said on the sidelines of the 13th convocation of IIT, Guwahati. He was asked to comment on his earlier statement regarding IITs and IIMs. He also said that last year he had pitched for IITs to be given a contract for cleaning the Ganga. Mr Ramesh is an alumnus of IIT-Bombay.
Mr Ramesh said he was “half expecting” a black-flag demonstration and that he was “grateful for the faculty not giving vent to their feelings”, referring to the student protest at TISS, Mumbai against the proposed Jaitapur nuclear plant when he had gone there to address its convocation.
“We brought a consortium together and they are now preparing a comprehensive river basin management plan for the Ganga river. This contract was about to be given to an American company, but I intervened and said let’s give it to the IITs,” Mr Ramesh said. “Let’s use the system, let’s use the faculty, let’s use the students, let’s build up the capability in the IITs. So this is a very big study. We are spending `17 crores to prepare a comprehensive river basin management plan for the Ganga. All seven IITs are involved. And hopefully similar initiatives will be undertaken for other river basins,” Mr Ramesh added.
Similarly, Mr Ramesh said, the services of IIT Delhi, IIT Kharagpur and IIT Guwahati were utilised for many projects.
Objecting to Mr Ramesh’s earlier view, Mr Sibal on Thursday had said, “I want to place on record complete trust in the creative potential of the faculties of IITs and IIMs. Almost 25 per cent of IIT faculty comprises students of IITs. Surely if there are world-class students, there must be world-class faculty.” Asian Age