The government on Thursday said it was formulating a law to empower the premium Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) to offer degrees like universities without curtailing their autonomy.
"The government has been examining the issue of bringing the IIMs in the country under an umbrella legislation like the Institutes of Technology Act. It will empower the IIMs to award degrees to students, which they are not competent to do at present," the human resource development (HRD) ministry said in a statement.
"It may be clarified that bringing the IIMs under the ambit of a central law will in no way alter their accountability to parliament or their status of being public institutions," it said.
India has six IIMs at Ahmedabad, Kolkata, Bangalore, Lucknow, Khozhikode and Indore, providing industry-oriented postgraduate diplomas and executive certificate programmes.
Refuting media reports that the ministry is trying to quell the vocal IIMs and curtail their autonomy through the planned law, the ministry said the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) have been flourishing as institutes of excellence under the Institutes of Technology Act and "their autonomy has in no way been adversely affected under the said act".
The IIMs function under their respective Memorandums of Association (MoAs) and rules and regulations framed there under. They are societies registered under the Societies Registration Act.
"The IIMs are public institutions and are accountable to parliament. They enjoy complete autonomy as regards academic matters and matters relating to fees, selection of faculty, introduction of new courses, incurring of expenditure in conformity with the prudence involved in public spending etc," the ministry said.
Though the IIMs at Ahmedabad, Kolkata and Bangalore are not dependent on government funds for their day-to-day operational expenses, it does not compromise their status of being public institutions. However, it is being proposed that funds be given to them for future expansion.
"It is once again reiterated that the government does not wish to, in any way, curtail the autonomy of the IIMs," it added.