New Delhi: Facing criticism over the selection of the yet-to-be-established Jio Institute by Reliance Foundation as an "Institution of Eminence", the HRD Ministry today clarified that the tag was conditional and it would get only a letter of intent for now.

"Right now they will not get the IoE tag, they will just get a letter of intent. If they are able to establish themselves in three years and meet the expectations of the expert committee, then they will get the IoE status. The expert panel will have the authority to withdraw the tag if the institution is not found to be performing up to the mark," HRD Secretary R Subramaniam told reporters.

The government yesterday granted "Institution of Eminence" (IoE) status to IIT-Delhi, IIT-Bombay and the Bengaluru-based Indian Institute of Science (IISc) in the public sector, and Manipal Academy of Higher Education, BITS Pilani and Jio Institute in the private sector.

The selection of the yet-to-be-established Jio Institute as one of the six "Institutions of Eminence" drew sharp criticism from various quarters with many questioning the process of selection and the motive behind it.

The HRD Ministry said it received 11 private proposals but its panel of experts felt that only the Jio Institute cleared all four specifications -- land availability, highly qualified and experienced core team, funding, and strategic vision with "clear milestones and action plan".

"Jio Institute has been selected under the greenfield institutions category. These institutions are not there right now but where well-meaning responsible private investment wants to bring global standards to the country, they should be welcomed," the HRD Secretary further said.

He also said that the three government institutions selected as IoEs would get funding of Rs 1,000 crore each, and the private entities would not be entitled for  funding.

The move is part of a scheme of the HRD Ministry to select 20 IoEs — 10 public and 10 private — that will enjoy complete academic and administrative autonomy.

However, the Empowered Expert Committee (EEC) headed by former chief election commissioner N Gopalaswami picked six institutions that, according to the panel, showed the potential to find a place among top 500 of global rankings.

Unlike other institutions, IoEs will get greater autonomy to start new courses, admit foreign students, hire foreign faculty, and collaborate with foreign educational institutions without the need for government approval.

PTI