The government has decided to make an exception for Jammu & Kashmir and give it two central universities but in the bargain the State has lost the promised Indian Institute of Management (IIM). This was announced here on Friday by Union Minister for Human Resource Development (HRD) Kapil Sibal.

Briefing mediapersons, Mr. Sibal said the government decided to make this exception in view of the special status of the State with its separate regions; each with distinct geographical, social, cultural and ethnic characteristics. Asked if similar demands from other States would be entertained — a case in point being Uttarakhand — his answer was a categorical “no”.

“Two appropriate central universities will be established as a special dispensation”, the Minister said; one in the Jammu region and the other in the Kashmir valley. But, given the financial constraints and because the demand for a second central university in J&K was greater, the proposal to set up an IIM in the State has been dropped. And, the original allocation for the IIM will now be used for the second central university in the State.

The decision to give J&K two central universities was taken in view of competing demands from both regions to have the lone central university that the government was planning in the State as part of its decision to set up a central university in each of the States which till date had none. Though conscious of the decision being cited as a precedent by other States with similar demands, the government made the exception to nip the possibility of the central university becoming a bone of contention between the two regions of an already strife-torn State.

The two central universities will have instructional and research facilities in emerging branches of learning like information technology, bio-technology and nano-sciences; the intention being to set exemplary standards of education for other universities in the State to emulate.

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