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Khurshid comes to the defence of Ramesh

Salman Khurshid on Wednesday came to the defence of his colleague Jairam Ramesh over the controversy surrounding his remarks on IITs and IIMs despite the Congress distancing itself from the Enviornment Minister`s statement.



New Delhi: Union Minister Salman Khurshid on Wednesday came to the defence of his colleague Jairam Ramesh over the controversy surrounding his remarks on IITs and IIMs despite the Congress distancing itself from the Enviornment Minister`s statement.

"The academic atmosphere in which academic free exchanges take place are different from formal official announcements that are made by ministers in their capacity.

"I think we should not discourage informal academic exchange of views whatever those views may be," Khurshid told reporters at the official press conference of the GoM on Media here when asked whether Ramesh`s remarks did not violate ministerial responsibility and if the central government endorsed his views.

Congress had yesterday distanced itself from Ramesh`s controversial remarks that the faculty of the premier IITs and IIMs are "not world class" saying it was not necessary for everyone to speak on every subject and had lauded the
contribution of these institutions.

Party spokesperson Manish Tewari had said, "I do not know in what context and what circumstances Ramesh has made the remarks. Whether it has been taken in context or out of context, he is the best person to be really able to answer
this question.

"But so far as IIMs and IITs are concerned, there is no question or ambiguity about their contribution to Indian academia and even to building some of the prime institutions around the world."

Khurshid, however, felt that it was not a point for "debate or conflict."

"I donot think we are free to trigger controversies. Ministers know what they have to say. But academic freedom in an academic institution is different from what you say in press conferences," he said when asked whether he means to say
that ministers are free to trigger controversies.

Khurshid said that he supports the views of HRD Minister Kapil Sibal that Jairam has an opinion and he should be allowed to have it.

"I support the HRD minister`s views that if somebody has familiar knowledge of an institution and he expresses his views, we should be enriched by those views. I donot think this is a point for debate or conflict," Khurshid said.

On the sidelines of a function in the national capital on Monday, Ramesh had said, "There is hardly any worthwhile research from our IITs.

"The faculty in the IIT is not world class. It is the students in IITs who are world class. So the IITs and IIMs are excellent because of the quality of students not because of quality of research or faculty."

The outspoken minister is an alumnus of IIT Mumbai from where he obtained his B.Tech degree in Mechanical Engineering in 1975.

PTI

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