Guwahati, May 27: Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh Friday tried to play down the controversy he had sparked through his remarks on the IIT-IIM faculty, saying he has long association with the premier institutions and had himself intervened to give an important project to the consortium of seven IITs.
‘My association with IIT (Indian Institute of Technology) goes back to 1963 and not many people can claim a 48-year-old association with IIT,’ Ramesh told reporters here.
Ramesh said last year he pitched for IITs to be given a contract for cleaning river Ganga.
‘We brought a consortium together and they are now preparing a comprehensive river basin management plan for Ganga River. This contract was about to be given to an American company, but I intervened and said let’s give it to IITs,’ he said.
Ramesh had, on the sidelines of a function Monday, said there was hardly any worthwhile research done at the IITs or IIMs (Indian Institutes of Management) and had blamed the faculty for the poor quality of work being done there.
‘There is hardly any worthwhile research from our IITs. The faculty in the IIT is not world-class. It is the students in IITs who are world-class. So the IITs and IIMs are excellent because of the quality of students not because of quality of research or faculty,’ said Ramesh, an alumnus of IIT-Bombay where he did his Bachelor of Technology in Mechanical Engineering in 1975.
Objecting to Ramesh’s view, Human Resource Development (HRD) Minister Kapil Sibal Thursday said the government had ‘complete trust in the creative potential’ of the teaching staff in these premier institutes.
‘I want to place on record complete trust in the creative potential of faculty of IITs and IIMs. Almost 25 percent of IIT faculty comprises students of IITs. Surely, if there are world-class students, there must be world-class faculty,’ said Sibal.