Coming out strongly against the draft IIM bill, Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad chairman A M Naik and its director Ashish Nanda Thursday said it goes against Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision and seeks to reduce IIMs to a “government department”.
To a question on a provision of the bill, which requires the director to report to the government about the five highest paid faculty members and employees of the IIM vis-a-vis their contribution to the institute, Nanda told The Indian Express, “Basically they are treating us like a government department…”
They were speaking on the sidelines of a meeting of the governing body to discuss the IIM bill 2015, drafted by the Human Resource Development Ministry.
“To us, it seems the impact of the bill may be in a direction opposite to what the government intends to achieve. The government’s vision is to encourage efficiency, innovation and quality. The centralisation effected by the bill would be deleterious to all those goals. The preamble of the bill outlines the government’s vision to empower institutions to attain standards of global excellence. But we worry the bill does not achieve that vision; in fact, it goes in the other direction,” Nanda added.
Naik raised fears about IIMA losing its position in the top 500 global management institutes if the bill becomes an act in the present form. “With the government holding sweeping powers, the bill will make the institution only an operational centre, with all the major diktats, directions and approvals happening from Delhi… There is nothing much left in the institute to do. It is like operating here, but the control is somewhere else,” Naik said.
“Our PM has always wished that we have at least 25 world-class institutions and this kind of regulation only takes it in the opposite direction,”said Naik.
Naik stressed that IIMA was created as an institution to be managed by the IIMA Society under the Societies Act. “It was started by a society. It was funded by the society and later on the government came into the picture. It was the society and not the government that played a key role in governing this institute,” he said.
Nanda said the IIMA has not been dependent on government funds since 2002, and that its own revenues crossed Rs 200 crore this year, making it the first IIM to reach this target.
“The subject of IIMA bill has been in discussion for the last two-and-a-half years and it has gone through various amendments and versions. Suddenly a week or 10 days ago, we were taken by surprise to find that the draft bill, approved earlier by all IIMs and the HRD Ministry, has been changed completely. Now it is worse than what it was when we started two years ago,” said Naik after stepping out of the meeting.
Emphasising that IIMA should be given more freedom in framing its curriculum, fee structure and recruitment, Naik said, “This bill is going to be detrimental to the interest of management studies in India.”
Stating that, as of now, the draft bill is a “small matter” to be raised with the PM, Naik said IIMA has taken up the issue with the HRD Ministry by sending a letter on why the bill should not be implemented in its present form.
“The government should be a wise overseer and hold us accountable for performance,” the IIMA director said. Talking about the proposed creation of a coordination forum as per the draft bill, Nanda said, “If it is meant as a forum to exchange ideas, it is a good idea, but if it is meant to centralise power, it is not good.”