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Arjun open to global IIMs

IN AN apparent climbdown from his ministry?s earlier position, HRD minister Arjun Singh on Tuesday said that the government could consider IIMs opening up foreign campuses if they amended their Memorandum of Association accordingly.

india Updated: Jan 18, 2006 01:25 IST

IN AN apparent climbdown from his ministry’s earlier position, HRD minister Arjun Singh on Tuesday said that the government could consider IIMs opening up foreign campuses if they amended their Memorandum of Association accordingly.
The HRD ministry had earlier rejected IIM-Bangalore’s proposal to open a campus in Singapore.

Singh informed a TV channel that as of now, “there is no provision in their Memorandum of Association to establish brick and mortar campuses abroad. If this is amended, we will consider the proposal for a foreign campus”. Reacting to the controversy for the first time, the minister said that these institutes are run on MoAs and that they are also entitled to tie-ups in research abroad.

The minister said IIMs are not corporate bodies since the government has spent funds on creating and supporting their infrastructure. “There may be IIMs that are financially sound but others are still state-funded,” he pointed out. Ministry officials said only IIM-Ahmedabad and IIM-Bangalore take no financial help from the ministry.

Singh added that though a few IIMs may have a corpus, they are not independent companies free to go anywhere. “They are still government bodies.”

On the charge of some of the IIMs that they aren’t autonomous, the minister said he had never interfered with their autonomy. “I only said these institutions must also enable poor students to get admission.”

Singh's views were endorsed by Reliance Industries Limited CMD Mukesh Ambani in Indore. “First, we should give a chance to our youth and after fulfilling the aspirations of our young people, we have to integrate with the world,” he told reporters here after dedicating the new IIM campus to the nation.

Ambani was responding to a query on IIMs being allowed to open campuses abroad.

“It is important is to build capacity in our own country,” the RIL chairman said.

First Published: Jan 18, 2006 01:25 IST