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Friday, Sep 20, 2019

IIMs step closer to awarding degrees as LS passes bill granting more powers

The IIM bill aims at making IIMs autonomous and aims to make the 20 B-schools institutions of national importance that will have the power to grant degrees

education Updated: Jul 28, 2017 22:45 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
New Delhi
HRD minister Prakash Javadekar has called the Indian Institutes of Management (IIM) bill a ‘historic step’ as it would give freedom and autonomy to all IIMs. Pictured here: IIM Ahmedabad
HRD minister Prakash Javadekar has called the Indian Institutes of Management (IIM) bill a ‘historic step’ as it would give freedom and autonomy to all IIMs. Pictured here: IIM Ahmedabad(HT Photo/For representation)

The Lok Sabha allowed the Indian Institute of Management (IIM) to award degrees to students, passing a bill on Friday that grants greater autonomy to the country’s premier business schools.

The bill now goes to the Rajya Sabha for clearance.

There are 20 IIMs in the country but none can offer degrees as the institutes are registered as societies under an 1860 law. Unless an institute is established by an act enacted in Parliament or as a university, it cannot grant degrees.

The Indian Institute of Management Bill, 2017, alters the top-rated business school’s status, which will enable the institute to award degrees such as MBA and PhD, instead of PGDM and fellowships.

Human resource development minister Prakash Javadekar said the aim is to remove government interference in IIMs. “We should learn to trust our institutions ... joint secretaries running IIMs from Delhi is not desirable.”

The bill pushes for IIMs to be declared institutions of national importance. And it has provisions for appointing members in each of the IIM’s board of governors through a transparent process, limiting the HRD minister’s role. The government will have a lone representative in each board.

The post of IIM visitor — currently, the country’s President — will be abolished.

In a rare gesture, opposition parties congratulated Javadekar for bringing the bill.

Former junior HRD minister Shashi Tharoor of the Congress praised the steps, but cautioned that handing the IIM boards full control to decide fees could lead to marginalization of poor students.

He took the occasion to announce his unhappiness over the government removing former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi’s name from the Shillong IIM. He said it was a “petty” act.

Tharoor also objected to the government’s proposal to rename IIM Calcutta as IIM Kolkata. He said the institute will lose its cultivated brand value as IIM-C and the name-change would create confusion as well because an IIM-K exists in Kozhikode.

In response, Javadekar said no eligible and meritorious student will be denied admission to IIMs for lack of money. The comptroller and auditor general will check IIM account books since these run on taxpayer’s money, he added.

Also, he said: “There is no provision of giving names to IIMs. All are IIMs. So the question of changing names does not arise,” he said.

Trinamool Congress leader Saugata Roy, who is also an educationist, welcomed the bill and requested the government lower the fee of IIMs to avoid deterring students.

CPM parliamentarian MB Rajesh also spoke about the high fee in IIMs. He said the institutes should not use the autonomous status to make money.

First Published: Jul 28, 2017 17:06 IST