After three-year of the standoff, the University Grants Commission (UGC) has approved Birla Institute of Technology and Science - BITS's branches in Goa and Hyderabad. According to a report in the Indian Express, the Human Resources and Development Ministry will issue a notification announcing regularisation of BITS's two off-campus centres next week. The move will clear its path to receive Letter of Intent (LoI) notifying its 'Institute of Eminence' (IoE) status from the ministry which was held because of the institute’s standoff with the commission.
The standoff started in 2015 when the UGC issued a notice to BITS, and 9 other deemed universities, to shut down their off-campus saying that they were set up without its permission. BITS went to Delhi High Court which ordered the higher education regulator to not take any coercive action. Therefore, the HRD Ministry decided to issue the LoI to BITS when it withdraws the case and applies for UGC's approval for its both off-campus. BITS then applied for the same and got approval from the UGC.
BITS Pilani, along with Manipal Academy of Higher Education (MAHE) and Jio Institute by Reliance Foundation, was granted 'Institutions of Eminence' by the government in the private sector. However, the Ministry had held back its Letter of Intent over the legality of its off-campus in Goa and Hyderabad. Other two institutes were issued their LoIs on July 24.
The Ministry had set-up an Empowered Expert Committee (EEC) headed by former chief election commissioner N Gopalaswami and entrusted it with the task of finding 20 'Institute of Eminence' -10 public and 10 private. But the committee found only six institutes suitable for the status. Interestingly, 114 applications (74 from public sector & 40 from the private sector) were received by the Ministry for the selection of IoEs. The selected institutes will enjoy complete academic and administrative autonomy i.e. they will be free to set their own curriculum, fix fees for foreign students and recruit foreign faculty.