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Decoding the IIM controversy

The Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) are up in arms against the human resource development (HRD) ministry about the draft IIM Bill 2015, which threatens to sweep away almost all autonomous power

Kalpana Pathak & Vinay Umarji 

Where the IIMs stand now
After the UPA government in 2012 gave the nod for a modified Memorandum of Association, the IIMs were empowered to trim the board size from over 26 to 14, appoint alumni members on the board and decide the pay structure of staff and faculty, independent of pay commissions. Changes were made based on the recommendations of the three committees - on governance, faculty and funding, constituted in 2010 by then human resource development minister Kapil Sibal

Where do finances come from?
IIMs mainly depend on their executive education programmes and alumni contributions for regular revenue generation and government grant-in-aid, except for IIM-A, -B and -C who have opted out of receiving grant from the HRD ministry. On the other hand, most new IIMs have been dependent on grants for campus building and other infrastructure funding

What the IIM Bill 2015 entails
  • The Bill proposes to grant statutory status to 13 existing IIMs at Ahmedabad, Kolkata, Bengaluru, Lucknow, Indore, Kozhikode, Shillong, Raipur, Ranchi, Rohtak, Kashipur, Tiruchirapalli and Udaipur
  • The Bill would enable IIMs to grant degrees instead of a postgraduate diploma and fellowship programmes
  • The current Fellow Programme in (equivalent to a PhD), which isn't a formal degree, hasn't been able to attract talented students, required to develop a strong research base and address faculty shortages

What the IIMs stand to lose
Every decision taken by the Board of Governors about appointment of chairpersons, directors and faculty members, fixing of fees and remuneration, changes in curriculum and decisions on the institute's infrastructure, will be subject to the approval of the HRD ministry. The IIMs say the board will be reduced to an implementing body void of any decision-making powers. They also argue this step is contrary to the previous regime that allowed more autonomy by way of modified MoAs. The IIMs, though, will remain under the Right to Information Act and will have to get their accounts audited by the Comptroller and Auditor General

Who can grant degrees?
Currently, technical institutes, including those offering education, and affiliated with universities, which are approved by the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE), can alone grant degrees SOME RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE R C BHARGAVA COMMITTEE
  • It was proposed to create a pan-IIM Board, consisting of 15 members. The idea was shelved as it didn't go down well with the IIMs
  • The chairman would be nominated by the PM and the secretary of the Board be one of five govt nominees
  • The Board would review the performance of each IIM once every two years, and advise the govt on all matters
  • IIM alumni should be inducted to the Board
  • The Board will have full powers to select and appoint the director; raise funds; determine fees for all courses; create or abolish posts; and determine conditions of service of all those appointed on contract
  • IIMs should build a scholarship fund to provide assistance in genuine cases
  • IIMs should sponsor and support students to procure PhDs
  • All IIMs older than five years should be able to generate a small operating surplus
  • MBA programme fee should be fixed after taking into account all incomes, and the need to have a small surplus
  • Surplus should be used to partially fund infrastructure, and to build the scholarship fund
  • Govt might fund 70% of all new capex in the older IIMs. The rest should be raised by the IIMs. New IIMs would need to be fully funded by the government
  • Academic & administrative functions in IIMs should be separated to enhance efficiency and give faculty more time to teach

First Published: Sat, June 27 2015. 00:30 IST