Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) has put up the National Institutional Ranking Framework in 2015. NIRF has laid down a technique for grading institutions across India.  

A core board that was set up by the MHRD made recommendations to identify the methodology and broad frameworks to rank various institutions and universities.

In addition to excellence in teaching, learning and the research culture, the framework also includes parameters such as inclusiveness and diversification. Ranking of institutions of Higher Education will be an annual exercise as determined by the MHRD.

Topics covered in NIRF:

Graduation outcomes– It is the test of the level of effectiveness of the core learning activity in the academy. It measures the rate of students graduating and their success in finding appropriate placement in the company.

Teaching Learning and Resources – The core activities of anyplace of learning are considered. stress is laid on measuring the number and quality of faculty, laboratory resources, library and other such facilities required for the development of the scholars. These points are further classified into the subsequent sub-points:

  • Student Strength including degree Students
  • Faculty-student ratio with stress on permanent faculty (FSR)
  • Combined metric for faculty with PhD (or equivalent) and skill (FQE)
  • Total Budget and Its Utilization (CBTU)

Research, consulting and collaborative performance– These frameworks evaluate the research culture in the organization as seen through the generation of IPR, international databases and interface with industry and fellow professionals.

Perception– Significant importance is given to the perception of the institutes by its partners. This will be ascertained through Stakeholder Surveys.

Outreach & Inclusivity – A special emphasis is laid on the representation of women and socially challenged persons in student and faculty populations. It is also considered as a framework in the outreach activities of the institution. Example:

  • Percent Students from other states/countries (Region Diversity RD)
  • Region Diversity
  • Percentage of Women (WF) + (WS) + (WA)
  • Economically and Socially Challenged Students (ESCS)
  • Facilities for Physically Challenged Students (PCS)

Difference between Accreditation vs Ranking: 
While Accreditation is a 5-year comprehensive assessment of the institution as a whole. The NIRF Ranking is a yearly affair. Accreditation gives absolute grade, ranking is relative to the other institutions similarly placed. 



  • It would enable parents, students, teachers, educational institutions and other stakeholders to rank institutions based on a set of objective parameters and a transparent process.
  • The NIRF will facilitate a level playing field in grading for institutions.
  • Institutions which have been working in languages other than English and excelled relatively in the past will be benefitted.


NIRF Ranking 2018

The National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF) India Rankings 2018 for eight categories were released by the Minister of Human Resource Development (HRD) Prakash Javadekar. Three new categories introduced in 2018 are medical, law and architecture colleges.

  • The Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, topped the overall rankings and also secured the top position in the best university category.
  • Delhi University’s Miranda House is India’s best college in NIRF 2018 ranking.
  • All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) Delhi has been ranked number one medical college in the country followed by Chandigarh’s Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, and Christian Medical College, Vellore at second and third place.
  • Nalsar University of Law in Hyderabad ranked number 1 in their respective categories.
  • The Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kharagpur has been ranked as the best architecture institute, followed by IIT Roorkee and School of Planning and Architecture, New Delhi.
  • Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras has been declared the best engineering college.
  • Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Ahmedabad occupied the top position among management institutions this year also.


Criticism of NIRF

Several institutions such as the BHU and IIMs have criticised NIRF ranking list for being incomplete, incoherent and bordering on the random due to use of limited and unverifiable data when compared to international rankings which are more programme-specific and stakeholder-specific and follow a feedback driven methodology.

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