IIM Bill’s Old Draft Out, New One In

The controversies relating to the new IIM bill seems to have been taken up by the new HRD minister Prakash Javdekar, under whose command, the ministry has signed off on a fresh draft after reaching agreements on several key points with PMO’s office which had earlier voiced its displeasure over the nature of interference by HRD ministry in the internal workings of the premier business schools of the country.

The old draft recommended that the appointment be done by the President of India which was seen as an encroachment over the rights of IIMs to have a say in their internal workings. The new draft has done away with it and now left it to board of governors to deal in such matters of appointments.

According to the new draft of the IIM bill, a coordination council for all IIMs will be set up which will have also have a government representative, as a member. This coordination council will make non binding suggestions which the institutes can consider. According to the old draft of the bill, the suggestions made by the council were binding on the IIMs. But as of previous weeks, PMO and HRD were head-to-head on the bill.

According to a former IIM director, Dr, Pritam Singh- ‘the most important thing is that government should have no a say in appointments’, he added carefully that one has to look at fine prints for that. IIM Ahmadabad had voiced its concern over the old draft of the bill, which according to it would curtail the autonomy of the IIMs and thus would seriously jeopardize the working of IIMs.

It has been observed that autonomy is at the height of the controversy which ensued after the bill was tabled by former HRD minister Smt. Smriti Irani and which wanted to set the IIMs on the line of the IIT bill.

Also, according to the new bill, out of 14 members who form the board of directors, 5 would be ex alumni as the PMO, in consonance with the IIMs, thought that non government voice should have a larger say in the internal working of these institutions, much to the chagrin of the HRD ministry. Now, IIMs won’t have to approach the government for changing regulations unlike IITs where every policy requires prior approval from government.

At present there are 13 IIMs with 5 more announced. The new IIMs have demanded a bill by which they could award their own degrees. Currently IIMs award only diplomas which are not recognized abroad.

The new draft is seen as an effort to lift the impasse between the PMO office and the HRD ministry.

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