The University Grants Commission has deferred its decision on granting the Institute of Eminence tag to more educational institutions as the empowered expert committee has recommended more than the mandated number that the scheme allowed, The Hindu reported on Wednesday.

The government had asked the expert committee in 2017 to find 20 institutions – 10 public and 10 private institutions – with the potential to be world-class teaching and research institutions that could be given the tag.

Sushma Yadav, a member of the University Grants Commission, said the empowered expert committee has recommended 30 names – 15 in each category. “But the government scheme said we had to select ten in each category [of public and private institutions]... So we decided to refer back to the government, whether they want to expand the scheme,” she said, after a meeting of the commission on Tuesday.

Yadav said it was not just a question of naming the institutions, but also granting public institutions Rs 1,000 crore in special funds. Yadav added that the expert committee had not listed the names in any preferential order or ranking.

Yadav also clarified that there had been no mention or discussion of a report or input from the Intelligence Bureau on universities that have been critical of the government and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. A report on Monday had said that the Union Ministry of Human Resource Development was hesitant to give such universities the Institute of Eminence tag.

In July, the Human Resource Development Ministry granted the Institution of Eminence status to three public and three private educational institutions in India after the empowered expert committee recommended 11 names. The six institutions included the Mukesh Ambani-backed Jio Institute, which is yet to be set up. In December, the committee recommended 19 more names, taking the total list to 30.