Five years after scrapping the Post Graduate Programme in Public Management & Policy (PGP-PMP) citing lack of takers; the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad (IIMA) has announced the establishment of a new school – JSW School of Public Policy on Wednesday with the help of industry-academia partnership.
One of India’s largest steel producers- JSW Steel Limited have signed an MoU (Memorandum of Understanding) with IIMA to contribute upwards of Rs 50 crores for establishing and operating the JSW School of Public Policy at IIMA.
“India doesn’t have many such schools. Currently land acquisition is a hot topic which is being debated in the country only among politicians, and there is really no intellectual thought in how to discuss this aspect of land acquisition…Public Policy has received inadequate attention in our country, both by academics and practitioners. We feel that the vision of new India needs discourse and deeper understanding of this subject; the School of Public Policy will contribute immensely towards this cause,” said Sajjan Jindal, CMD, JSW Steel Ltd. at a press meet held at IIMA.
IIMA’s one year policy programme PGP-PMP which had opened amidst much fanfare, had to be shut down in three years owing to a lukewarm response from policymakers from the government and industry leaders for whom it was intended.
Speaking about future plans of the new school, IIMA Director Ashish Nanda said, “We have outlined a place in the new campus where the school will come up. In terms of courses we are looking at 2016-17 to begin it. A small group of IIMA faculty group who have been working on the public policy will come up with a plan for how the school is to be evolved and how best we can use the resources we have including the building infrastructure, if we need additional faculty, the class-size and whether the programme will be for entry level or mid-level professionals.”
Incidentally, the highly controversial draft ‘IIM Bill’ which saw the B-school step up its ante against the Centre citing ‘erosion of autonomy’ and ‘micro-management’ last week, spurred questions on the B-school’s shrinking autonomy and its role in policy advocacy and influencing decision-makers in the government through the new School of Public Policy at the meet.
“One of the things Mr Jindal (Sajjan) insisted on and in fact IIMA would not have had it any other way was that he said I will make the contribution and I will be there to give you whatever goodwill and support to you. So we have total academic independence on debating and discussing how we are going to do this, what all programs we will have… Of course we will be responding to and telling people what we will be doing but they are not going to micromanage…as to which research projects were are going to do,” added Nanda.
Senior IIMA faculty and Dean of Programmes Ajay Pandey added, “Advocacy is not our forte, we would rather take a nuanced academic position on whatever issues are there… We would not like to do policy advocacy. We are not going to be activists, we are just going to be debating as to what are the options.”
The announcement was attended by senior IIMA faculty involved with public policy realm like Sebastian Morris, Ajay Pandey, Parvinder Gupta, Anil Gupta, Rekha Jain, Sunil Sharma and Rakesh Besant along with VC of Gujarat University and IIMa Board member- MN Patel and Sangita Jindal- Chairperson of JSW Foundation and Biswadip Gupta, Regional Director at Bengal Projects, JSW Ltd.