IIMs sharply divided over draft Bill that grants greater say to govt

PTI New Delhi | Updated on January 24, 2018 Published on June 21, 2015


The draft IIM bill, which seeks to give sweeping powers to HRD ministry in the functioning of the B-schools, including policy matters like deciding fees, emoluments and service conditions of the faculty, has left the prestigious institutes sharply divided.

While the view in the older six IIMs is that an attempt is being made at “micro-managing” them, something that would infringe upon their autonomy, those in the eight new premier institutes feel the apprehension is misplaced.

IIM-Ahmedabad director Ashish Nanda said the proposed legislation would be used as a tool to “micro-manage” the institutes, known the world over for academic excellence.

“Micro-management is never good. If that is done, people working in institutions may feel less empowered,” he said, speaking about the bill which provides for IIM Boards deciding matters like fees, emoluments and service conditions of the faculty but only with the Centre’s approval.

The Bill also provides for constitution of a coordination forum chaired by the HRD minister.

An IIM professor, who was involved in drafting the bill, voiced surprise at the final draft as the earlier document did not contain any clause that gave “overwhelming authority” to the government in running the institutes.

“In its original form, the Bill was rather egalitarian and took the views of all stakeholders. But it has had last minute changes. Now, for everything if we have to go back to the government for permission which has the powers to say yes or no, we can’t be competitive enough,” he said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

“If centralisation is the goal, autonomy is going to suffer. This is not the original intention of the bill. This is not acceptable. In the last meeting, there was nothing to suggest IIMs will have to go to the government for permission.

We will be caught in procedural trap,” he said.

“The Bill, if implemented (enacted) in its present avatar, will undermine the autonomous status enjoyed by the IIMs. At a time when we are looking at a global footing, the Bill could prove to be retrograde,” said another IIM director, pleading anonymity.

The draft says the IIMs will be “bound” by government’s directions in policy matters.

“Without prejudice to the foregoing provisions of this Act, the Institute (IIMs) shall, for efficient administration of this Act, be bound by such directions on questions of policy, as the Central Government may give in writing to it from time to time,” the draft bill says.

Published on June 21, 2015
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