A day after he said students and not faculty made the IITs and IIMs world-class, environment minister Jairam Ramesh found himself under attack from various quarters and with just one supporter in his corner.
While HRD minister Kapil Sibal agreed no Indian institution ranked among the top 150 universities globally, the BJP, the targeted faculty and even his own colleagues tore into Ramesh.
“The comments are unfortunate,” said junior science and technology minister Ashwini Kumar. “I am better equipped to comment on scientific capabilities of public sector institutions. I don’t agree with the approach of decrying the IITs and IIMs lock, stock and barrel.”
Ramesh had on Monday said students, not faculty, made the Indian Institutes of Technology and Indian Institutes of Management world-class. “There is hardly any worthwhile research from IITs… The IITs and IIMs are excellent because of the quality of students, not the quality of research or faculty.”
BJP spokesperson Rajiv Pratap Rudy retorted: “We can’t have world-class institutions till we have world-class ministers.” He went on to say the BJP was proud of the two institutions that contributed senior-level staff in top companies.
The Congress distanced itself from Ramesh but slammed the BJP. “We don’t appreciate unsolicited advice from third-class people as to who should be first class or third class,” spokesperson Manish Tewari said.
The faculty pointed out that India was investing far less than the developed world in scientific research. “Has the minister done his homework? Does he know the reality of these institutions,” asked Prof Anindya Sen, former dean, IIM-Calcutta.