Mumbai: Union Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh on Monday observed that academic institutions of repute in the country witness an "institutional decay" after completing three decades or more.
"My theory of our institutions is that they have a half life of about 35 years. After which, they begin to lose their intellectual gravitas...Rule of institutional decay has become so very problematic in our intellectual life," Ramesh told the IGIDR students on their convocation here.
Digging into the causes for this, Ramesh said, "One of the great tragedies of our academic institutions is parochialism."
Appreciating the inclusion of a Manipuri student among the passing-out batch of the RBI-promoted Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research this year, he told the gathering, "If you retain the national character both in the faculty and students that would be a great achievement."
The comments, made in the financial capital, assume importance given the highly emotive issue of regional identity in the political arena in the state.
Ramesh, who carries a reputation for articulating his contrarian views on issues publicly, also attacked the system of mentorship in the academia.
"The problem of mentors is that they become tormentors," he said, advising, mentors to exit and make way for the protege at the right time.