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IIMs told to evolve uniform fee structure

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The Union HRD Minister, Mr Arjun Singh, at a meeting with the Directors of IIMs in New Delhi on Monday. — S. Subramanium

New Delhi , May 31

IN an effort to end the controversial Indian Institute of Management (IIM) fee cut issue, the Government on Monday asked the institutes to work out a common and uniform fee structure by June end.

The board meetings of the management institutes will be held on June 25 to find out ways to resolve the matter by the end of the month. The directors of these institutes will hold consultations among themselves by June 6 and their suggestions will be discussed at the Ministry level on June 8.

After the first-ever meeting with directors and chairmen of the IIMs lasting over two hours, the Human Resource Development Minister, Mr Arjun Singh, maintained that there were no suggestions from the Government side on fee structure.

"I want that these institutions should themselves discuss the issue and make a programme and they have agreed on that," Mr Singh said, adding the Government respected and believed in principles of autonomy in all institutions of higher learning.

Meanwhile, the IIM directors appeared optimistic. Mr Bakul Dholakia, Director of IIM, Ahmedabad, said, "We expect that many of the problems which have cropped up in the last six months and lot of issues in which there have been differences of opinion between the institutes and the Ministry would be resolved."

The meeting was held to break the impasse over drastic reduction of fees effected by his predecessor in the NDA Government, Mr Murli Manohar Joshi. Mr Singh also requested the student community to bear with him for the inconvenience caused to them. Asked whether any other matter, like autonomy, was discussed at the meeting, he said it was decided that there should be a broad common agreement.

On his views about the previous Government's decision to impose drastic fee cuts in IIMs, Mr Singh felt that it would have been good if the decision had been taken in consultation with the institutes.

Asked whether the Government favoured a graded fee structure, he said there was no suggestion from it on this issue and the B-schools have been asked to come out with their views on the matter, to which they have agreed.

When reminded that the previous Government's order had been challenged in the Supreme Court, Mr Singh said the apex court had not yet admitted the case. The court might give time to the institutes since they were negotiating with the Government.

Asked whether the report of the Shunglu Committee which had recommended that IIMs should be audited, Mr Singh said the report had no direct relation with this meeting and no report was discussed.

The meeting was attended by Mr Y.C. Deveshwar, Chairman of IIM, Kolkata; Mr H. Singhania, Director, IIM, Lucknow; Mr S.P. Parashar (Indore); Mr Devi Singh (Lucknow); Mr B. Dholakia, (Ahmedabad); Mr R. Srinivasan, Dean, Academic, IIM, Bangalore; Mr Shekhar Chaudhury, Director, IIM, Kolkata; and Mr Krishna Kumar (Kozhikode).

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