Calling for retaining the existing autonomy of Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs), the Prime Minister’s Office has told the education ministry to rework its draft bill to ensure that it does not lead to excessive regulation of the premier institutes.
The human resource development (HRD) ministry had proposed a bill to give IIMs a status of ‘institutes of national importance’ that would have empowered the IIMs to grant degrees, and not diplomas. The prime minister’s office is learnt to have advised the education ministry against any dilution of the autonomy of IIMs.
The 16 IIMs have established a reputation of being premier institutions for management studies, but continue to give diploma in management since they do not have status of a university.
In accordance with the long standing demand for providing them the status of ‘institutions of national importance’ like the IITs, MHRD had formulated the draft bill and sent it to the PMO before putting it up for cabinet consideration sources said.
According to officials, the PMO has raised several objections to the various provisions of control that are present in the bill which allows HRD an opportunity to intervene in the IIM functioning, including the appointment of IIM directors through the President and inspecting the institutes.
“The draft Bill with the diluted provisions including giving the power of appointment of the directors to the Visitor (President of India) was reportedly agreed to by the IIMs. However, PMO has raised concern over it as the provision for inspection would mean that the ministry can send a team to investigate any complaint,” said a senior HRD official.
If the draft Bill is not amended this year and presented before the Parliament for its approval in the budget session, students will have to settle with a diploma.
The objections have arisen out of the concern to protect the autonomy of these institutions without trying to regulate. “We are discussing the various issues and the observations of the PMO in this regard,” said a senior HRD official.
The bill has run into controversies from day one since certain provisions were drafted to provide control of government on the affairs of IIMs. All IIMs had opposed the move. The HRD ministry refused to comment on the matter.