Irani vetoes experts; ISM closer to becoming IIT

  • Brajesh Kumar, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Nov 18, 2014 16:35 IST

In keeping with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s electoral promise to turn Indian School of Mines (ISM) Dhanbad into an Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Smriti Irani-led HRD ministry overruled an expert panel’s recommendations that had trashed the idea.

A letter from the ministry, sources said, was sent to the panel on September 26 saying it was “desired” by Irani that the panel should further examine the issue and see what could be done to enable the institute to become a good IIT.

Prior to general elections, Modi, as BJP’s prime ministerial candidate, at an election rally in Dhanbad had slammed the UPA government for not turning ISM into an IIT. “ISM has a name in all of Asia, it should be upgraded to an IIT,” Modi had said.

A panel formed to look into this demand said in its report that ISM didn’t merit an entry into brand IIT on the basis of its educational and research inadequacy. Comparing it with IIT Madras, the panel had said that while at ISM, 40 out of 250 of its faculty members were without PhDs, IIT madras had only one faculty member without a PhD.

Recommending a status quo, the panel headed by Professor Ashok Mishra, former director of IIT Bombay said ISM is a “niche” institute and should be allowed to continue as such. The report was to be discussed at the IIT council (the highest decision making body of the IITs) meeting on September 22 but it was not presented.

While panel chairperson Mishra refused to comment on the development, ISM registrar MK Singh welcomed the move saying it had been a long pending demand.

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