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Faculty remark: Jairam says he has ample support at home, abroad

Last updated on: May 26, 2011 15:38 IST

Faculty remark: Jairam says he has ample support at home, abroad

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Piyali Mandal, Nivedita Mookerji in Bhopal, New Delhi

Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh, who has triggered a fresh controversy over the calibre of the faculty of India's premier higher education institutes, on Thursday claimed he had ample support at home as well as abroad.

"I am getting messages from people, living in this country and abroad, supporting me on this," he said.

The minister was in Bhopal to chair an oversight committee meeting on remediation of toxic contamination in and around the abandoned Union Carbide factory.

A day after protests from the faculty members of IITs and IIMs, Ramesh said, "I have stated the fact. It's the truth; that's why they are reacting."

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Image: Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh
Photographs: Christian Charisius/Reuters
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Responding to his critics on whether he was competent enough to comment on the quality of faculty, the minister, known for many controversies, quipped: "I myself am an IITian."

Ramesh got support from some of his ministerial colleagues, too. Water Resources and Minority Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid said: "The Human Resource Development Minister (Kapil Sibal) has already given his views." Sibal had batted for Ramesh a day before.

Without directly commenting on Ramesh's statement, Khurshid said informal exchange of views in an academic atmosphere was quite different from a minister making an announcement at a press conference.

"We should be enriched by such views," he added.

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IIM-Ahmedabad

Khurshid, who is part of a group of ministers set up to brief the media on a regular basis, was addressing one such conference in New Delhi.

Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, who was sharing the dais at the same conference, nodded in agreement with Khurshid.

Sibal on Thursday said the reason why IITs were not among the top institutes of the world should be analysed.

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"Jairam is talking about himself as he is a world class student and he was in IIT himself. He has an insight and an inside knowledge of it. If IITs are world class then they must be in the top 100-150 institutions of the world," Sibal had said.

However, Minister of State for Science and Technology Ashwani Kumar had criticised Ramesh's remarks. Calling it "unfortunate", he had said as minister for science and technology, he was better equipped to talk on the subject.

On Monday, Ramesh had said "IITs are surviving because of their students. There is hardly any worthwhile research from our IITs. The faculty in the IIT is not world class."

 


Image: IIT-Kanpur Campus

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