IIM Bill: HRD Minister says want to remove government interference, opposition praises move

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Union Human Resource Development Minister Prakash Javadekar today received rare praise from the Opposition in the Lok Sabha for bringing a bill which seeks to usher in functional autonomy in the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) by restricting the government role. The Indian Institutes of Management Bill, 2017, provides for giving statutory powers to these institutions in their running including the appointment of directors, faculty members, and gives them powers to award degrees instead of post graduate diplomas.

The bill also has provisions for appointment of members of the board of governors (BoG) in each of the 20 IIMs through a transparent process, while limiting even the HRD Minister’s role. The bill also seeks to declare the IIMs as institutes of national importance and abolish the post of visitor. Currently, the President is the ‘visitor’ of the IIMs.

Currently, the President is the ‘visitor’ of the IIMs.

Moving the bill for consideration and passage, Javadekar said the aim of the bill is to remove the government’s interference in IIMs. He said the proposed legislation will usher in a new era of freedom in the IIMs and these institutes will not require to come to the government for various permissions and clearances.

“It is a historical bill which will bring a new era in management education in the country,” he said, noting that financial transaction will be subject to CAG evaluation as the institutes run on tax payers’ money.

He said it was not an ideal situation to run the IIMs from Delhi, noting the move is aimed at allowing autonomy to institutes which have created an eco-system for excellence in higher education. The government will have only one representative in eachBoG so that the institutes can take decisions independently, the minister said.

Participating in the debate on the bill, Congress leader Shashi Tharoor said it was a “remarkable moment when a minister surrenders (his) powers”. He said other ministers in the government should draw inspiration from Javadekar in doing so.

He said other ministers in the government should draw inspiration from Javadekar in doing so.

At the same time, the former minister criticised the government for not enhancing financial assistance to IITs and IIMs, saying they are reeling under funds crunch. He suggested the government should have some say in determining fee structure in the IIMs as higher fees may badly hit students from the poor families.