The director of an IIT will no longer hold additional charge of institute chairman once the post falls vacant, the government has decided.
HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar is learnt to have approved the proposal that anyone of the incumbent chairpersons of other IITs will be requested to hold fort until the government fills the vacant post.
Currently, five of the 23 premier engineering schools in Jodhpur, Gandhinagar, Indore, Ropar and Roorkee do not have a full-time chairman for their respective Board of Governors (BoG). Their directors are currently also acting as the institute chairman. The posts at IIT-Jodhpur and IIT-Gandhinagar have been vacant for over two years.
The government’s decision was prompted by a letter written by Professor Ashok Misra to the HRD Ministry in October last year. He served as IIT Roorkee chairman till May 2017.
In his missive, dated October 11, 2017, Misra flagged the practice of giving additional charge of the post of chairman to the institute director as “conflict of interest”. According to him, long periods of vacancy (such as one at IIT-Jodhpur and IIT-Gandhinagar) create a situation where the director takes a decision and then also approves it in his capacity as acting chairman of the institution.
To rid the institute of the above “conflict of interest”, Misra had suggested that the government either extend the term of the retiring chairman, until his or her successor is appointed, or request one of the BoG members to act as chairman until the post is filled. The Indian Express reached out to Misra for a comment, but he did not wish to discuss his letter to the government.
Although the ministry agreed with Misra’s logic, it went with a different solution. Javadekar has approved the proposal to give additional charge of the vacant post of chairman at an IIT to the incumbent chairman of another IIT.