IIMs divided over draft bill that gives new powers to HRD Ministry

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IIM-logo At a time when the HRD ministry has been accused of interfering in the functioning of institutes of higher learning including the IITs, another controversy has cropped up. The Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) are sharply divided over IIM draft bill that grants, which seeks to give seeping powers to HRD ministry in the functioning of the B-schools, including policy matters like deciding fees, emoluments and service conditions of the faculty. The bill also provides for constitution of a coordination forum chaired by the HRD minister.

While the six older IIMs are of the view that this is an attempt to ‘micro-managing’ them, something that would infringe upon their autonomy, those in the eight new premier institutes feel the apprehension is misplaced. On the other hand, the eight new premier institutes feel that there is no base to these apprehensions.

A media report states that an IIM professor, who was involved in drafting the bill, voiced surprise at the final draft as the earlier document did not contain any clause that gave ‘overwhelming authority’ to the government in running the institutes.

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Most IIMs would be sending their response to the draft, uploaded on the HRD ministry’s website, over the next few days. The bill seeks to declare the IIMs ‘Institutes of National Importance’.

Meanwhile, the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad (IIM-A) still has a student ratio heavily skewed in favour of engineers and male students. Of the 400-odd students admitted to IIM-A in the 2015-17 batch, women make up only 14 per cent — the lowest in the last three years despite concerted efforts by the institute to better the ratio on the campus.

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