The figure is undoubtedly staggering. Equally is the expenditure worthwhile if the West Bengal government is anxious to further embellish the centre of excellence that is Jadavpur University.
It would be deeply unfortunate if funds turn out to be the deterrent. The campus, one of the country’s finest for all the occasional disturbances, runs the risk of losing out on the “Institution of Eminence” embroidery unless the state government shells out Rs 2000 crore.
This is a critical issue over which there ought to be no discord between the departments of education and finance.
The teachers and the taught will look forward to a positive initiative; if the state is loath to bear this eminently worthwhile expenditure, the tag will be awarded to the other campuses on the waitlist, pre-eminently Savitribhai Phule Pune University and Aligarh Muslim University. Of course, the Centre will provide grants to the extent of 50 to 75 per cent of the total requirement or Rs 1000 crore, whichever is less over a span of five years.
Which leaves a fair amount of the expenditure that will have to be borne by the state government and Jadavpur University.
In the interest of advancement of learning both in the general and technological streams, the time-frame of the central as well as the state’s contribution can perhaps be extended.
And it is here that the Vice-Chancellor as well as the new Governor/Chancellor have a critical role to play instead of leaving it to the political worthies of the BJP (at the Centre) and the Trinamul Congress (at the state level) to work out the terms of engagement.
A degree of friction is almost inevitable, given the equation between the two parties. Already, the state’s education minister, Partha Chatterjee, has criticised the Centre for “adding a last-minute rider that the state government will have to provide a matching grant”.
The issue affords no scope for a federal kerfuffle. Central to the issue is the value of the campus; Jadavpur University has been selected by the University Grants Commission last week as one among 14 universities that deserve the Institution of Eminence label.
Anna University in Tamil Nadu is the only other state university that has been selected for the rarefied IoE category. It will also have to bear an expenditure of Rs 1750 crore. True the list is tilted in favour of Central universities, notably IIT Madras, IIT Kharagpur, Delhi University, and Central University of Hyderabad. This is in addition to IIT Delhi, IIT Bombay and the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore, which made the grade last year. West Bengal is proud that Jadavpur University is poised to step into the rarefied circuit. The selection will hopefully fructify with matching pump-priming. International ranking is the consummation to be devoutly wished for.