Besides Gopalaswami, Houston University President Renu Khator, senior Harvard academic Prof Tarun Khanna and former IIM-Lucknow Director Dr Pritam Singh will be on the board of the Empowered Expert Committee (EEC), which will be the final authority to select the 20 institutes from a list of 104 that have applied for the coveted status.
Of the total institutes in the fray, 71 are Government-funded ones including the IITs, IIMs and NITs. The rest are top private institutes.
A panel headed by the Cabinet Secretary had shortlisted the EEC members which has finally got approval from the Prime Minister who heads the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC). The EEC members are expected to serve a three-year term.
The high-priority ‘Institutes of Eminence’ project, conceived and formulated under the close scrutiny of the Prime Minister’s Office, aims at catapulting Indian institutes to global recognition. Out of the chosen 20 institutes, 10 will be Government-run and receive special funding. All the chosen 20 will have unprecedented academic and administrative autonomy.
Gopalaswami, the retired IAS officer from the Gujarat cadre, is currently the vice-president of the Vivekananda Educational Society, a RSS-affiliated organisation, runs a group of schools around Chennai. He is also the Chairman of the Kalakshetra Foundation.