THE HRD Ministry has written to all the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) stating that the government-appointed chairpersons, directors and Board nominees should be allowed to complete their term, unless the rules under the IIM Act say otherwise.
The IIM rules are currently being drafted by an eight-member government committee and are expected to be notified in the next two months.
The government’s clarification is important as it comes days after the chairman of IIM-Calcutta, Sunil Kulkarni, expressed apprehension over whether the institute’s Board of Governors (BoG) would allow him to finish his term, given that under the new IIM Act, the Board is the appointing and firing authority.
Kulkarni flagged this issue at a meeting of all IIM chairmen with HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar on March 14. Although the minister had urged all the IIM representatives at the meeting to allow the government appointees to finish their term, this clarification has now been given in writing to all institutes to put all fears and confusion to rest, said sources.
Apart from empowering the 20 business schools to award degrees to students instead of postgraduate diplomas, the IIM Act, which came into effect on January 31, also bestows the institutes with unprecedented levels of autonomy. For instance, the IIMs are now free to appoint their own chairmen and directors.
That apart, government representation on the Board of each IIM has gone down significantly under the new law. The ministry’s letter, dated March 20, also states that the ex-officio members of the BoG, such as financial advisor of the HRD Ministry or representatives of AICTE or AIMA, will be dropped, as per the provisions of the Act, after an IIM fills all Board vacancies. After vacant BoG positions are filled, the IIMs can bring in new members in place of government representatives.