The human resource development (HRD) ministry is likely to table the proposed draft of the IIM bill in the ongoing Parliament session, now that it has received the law ministry’s approval.
Sources said the law ministry had questioned the absence of a reference to the “visitor” — who happens to be the President — from the draft bill. However, the HRD ministry clarified that IIMs, in the final shape, will not have the President as their visitor. This means the President will not have the power to review the functioning of IIMs or order a probe.
All major government-funded institutes, including IITs and central universities, have the President of India as their visitor.
“The HRD ministry has already responded, clarifying that it is a policy matter. The law ministry didn’t raise an objection but a query. Everything has been sorted out now,” said a source.
The proposed bill will be presented before the cabinet for its approval before being tabled in Parliament. If passed, it will allow the premier management institutes to give away degrees instead of post-graduate diplomas.
Sources said the ministry hopes to table it in the second week of December.
The President, in his capacity as the visitor, makes top appointments to all centrally funded institutes. He is also empowered to hold an inquiry into the functioning of an institute or its head. In the past, the President has given his nod for the removal of vice-chancellors of central universities as well as approval for probes into allegations of financial irregularities.
The draft bill also empowers the country’s 20 IIMs to appoint directors of their own choice. “The HRD ministry has decided to give more autonomy to IIMs. The board of governors will be empowered to appoint their director,” said a source.
Though the Prime Minister’s Office had pitched for according greater autonomy to IIMs even during former HRD minister Smriti Irani’s tenure, it was emphasised that the visitor’s post would be retained to ensure accountability in functioning.