IIM Bill: PMO leans in favour of autonomy, HRD not so keen


THE PRIME Minister’s Office (PMO) and the HRD Ministry don’t seem to agree on the degree of autonomy that should be granted to the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs).

The PMO had recently recommended six changes to the revised IIM Bill — which aims to empower the premier B-schools to award degrees instead of diplomas — to dilute the scope of government control over the institutes. The HRD Ministry is willing to adopt only three.

The changes suggested by the PMO are:

* The Bill states the President, in his capacity as the ‘Visitor’ of all the IIMs, can review the work of any IIM. PMO thinks this should only be done on the recommendation of the Board of Governors (BoG) of the institute.

* The Bill provides for three alumni members on the BoG of each IIM. PMO has suggested five.

* The Bill says the BoG will have two nominees of the central government. PMO has recommended one nominee.

* The draft law provides for BoG to have four eminent persons, of which at least one shall be a woman. PMO wants at least three women members on the BoG.

* The proposed law says the member-secretary of the coordination forum (coordinating body) of the IIMs should be an officer not below the rank of joint secretary. PMO has suggested an IIM director should be the member-secretary.

*  According to the Bill, the IIMs will have to intimate the government about any changes in the tuition fee. PMO has said the institute does not need to inform the government.

The HRD Ministry, sources said, has agreed to incorporate the last three suggestions. It is not in favour of altering the provision on an inquiry by the President into the working of an IIM on the ground that the IITs are also governed by a similar clause under the IIT Act.

The HRD Ministry, sources added, was also not convinced about changing the number of government nominees and alumni members on the BoG. The PMO has been informed of the ministry’s reservations about these changes.

The government listed the IIM Bill for introduction in the Budget Session of Parliament after it redrafted the law to modify clauses that the IIMs alleged would curtail their autonomy. The ministry, for instance, modified Section 3 (k) of the Bill, which stated that any regulation made by the BoG would have to be approved by the government. The changed provision now gives the BoG the final say.

The re-drafted Bill was circulated among different ministries for comments in December last year. But with the PMO requesting further changes in the revised draft and the HRD Ministry disagreeing with some of the suggestions, the Bill’s introduction in the Budget Session seems unlikely. Sources said PMO and HRD officials could hold a meeting to arrive at a consensus.

HRD Ministry spokesperson Ghanshyam Goel declined to comment on the matter.

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