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Quota decision: IIMs heave a sigh of relief

THERE IS something in the ?quota Bill? cleared by the Union Cabinet on Monday will make the IIM directors heave a sigh of relief.

india Updated: Aug 22, 2006 01:34 IST

THERE IS something in the ‘quota Bill’ cleared by the Union Cabinet on Monday will make the IIM directors heave a sigh of relief.

The directors of six IIMs made it clear, from the beginning, that it would had been difficult to implement the ‘Mandal II regime’ at one go. Monday’s bill that will be tabled in the current session of Parliament seeks to implement the quota over a period of three years (5, 10 and 12 per cent over the period). And this is what the IIM directors had suggested.

“Monday’s decision is no surprise. It was a policy decision. But, we, including IITs, wanted it over a three years time,” IIM Lucknow director Prof Devi Singh told HT on Monday.

But then it is a small consolation for IIMs. For even over a period of three years, different IIMs with their varying problems, would not find it easy. IIM Kozhikode (IIM-K) has a unique set of difficulties. particularly in view of its geographical location. “We are situated atop a hill. Any expansion that necessarily will have to be carried out once the quota is in place will require a lot of planning, for construction here is a very arduous task,” a senior IIM-K faculty member told HT on the phone.

In other institutes, too, the availability of land is limited and acquiring it takes considerable time. “We mentioned it to Veerappa Moily, chairman of the Oversight Committee that providing facilities in the short term will not be easy when the expansion required is 54 per cent,” a senior IIM official said.

Again, those institutes like IIM Indore, which upped its post- graduate programme intake by 50 per cent from the current year, will have a great problem in making a further adjustment.

Perhaps, the biggest problem will be to find enough qualified faculty to maintain the standards that IIMs and IITs are known for. Even in the existing set-up, the attrition rate is very high. The pool of available faculty in the country is limited and both public and private faculty draw their faculty from the same pool.

The IIM director know that the problem is serious. In order to ensure that the number of seats in general category remains the same after the 27 per cent reservation for OBCs comes into force, it was understood that the student intake would have to be enhanced by 54 per cent.

“My main problem is where to get the quality faculty,” an IIM director told HT on the phone. At IIM-L, Prof Devi Singh’s worry is no different.

Even if enough qualified faculty was available, the faculty recruitment cycle takes 15 to 18 months on an average. And after going through with this rather tedious procedure, the faculty members are easily attracted by private corporate sector and newer management schools with better packages and lighter workloads. Several IIM-L faculty members have left for greener pastures.

Same is true for other institutes.

IIM-L has sought a non-recurring grant of Rs 60 crore along with an additional Rs 6/7 crore annually for building the requisite infrastructure from the Union Government. Other IIMs, too, have submitted their budgetary requirements. The IIM directors are still keeping their fingers crossed. They know they have a management problem at hand.

First Published: Aug 22, 2006 01:34 IST