The IITs Madras and Kharagpur, Delhi University, University of Hyderabad, Amritha Vishwa Vidyapeetham and VIT are among the 20 institutions recommended for the grant of the Institute of Eminence status by the University Grants Commission on Friday.

However, the UGC denied the tag to five private universities — Azim Premji University, Ashoka University, KREA University, Indian Institute for Human Settlements and the Indian Institute of Public Health — on the grounds that they have not been placed in any global or national rankings. Since their exclusion left a vacant slot on the list of private universities given the tag, the Satya Bharti Foundation — telecom major Airtel’s philanthropic arm — became the second greenfield institution to be given IoE status, after Jio Institute which is backed by the Reliance Foundation.

Institute of Eminence scheme
The Institute of Eminence scheme aimed at developing 20 world-class institutions which would put India on the global education map. Those selected will be given greater autonomy and freedom to decide fees, course durations and governance structures. The public institutions will also receive a government grant of ₹1,000 crore, while the private institutions will not get any funding under the scheme.

20 institutions covered
The Gopalaswami panel initially recommended 11 institutions for the tag in July 2018. The Centre had then accepted six recommendations — IITs Delhi and Bombay, IISc Bangalore, BITS Pilani, Manipal University, and the yet-to-open Jio University. In December, the committee recommended 19 more names and asked the UGC to consider all 30 for the tag.

However, following the Ministry of Human Resource Development’s decision to limit the scheme to the original 20 institutions — 10 private and 10 public — the UGC was forced to limit the list to 20. It chose to use the criterion of the QS-2020 world rankings, with the QS-2019 India rankings and NIRF rankings used as a tie-breaker. Any institution that did not figure in any rankings was excluded completely.

The UGC’s recommendations will now be submitted to the Ministry for final grant of the status.