In a move that could impinge on the autonomy of the Indian Institutes of Management, the Human Resource Development Ministry has come up with a draft IIM bill, which seeks to give the ministry authority over the institutes on a range of issues.
Officials said the draft bill is open to changes and has been put up by the ministry on its website for public opinion.
Currently, unlike the Indian Institutes of Technology, IIMs don’t function under an Act of Parliament.
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The draft bill, which says the Board of Governors of each IIM will be the “principal executive body”, grants the Centre powers to override the Board.
It also says the Board can make rules and regulations regarding tenure, remuneration, etc for IIM employees — but only after taking approval from the Centre.
Moreover, as per the draft bill, the ministry’s approval will be required for matters related to admission criteria, scholarships and fellowships as well as how to conduct Board meetings.
Currently, the boards and academic councils of the institutes take such decisions independently. “Without prejudice to the foregoing provisions of this Act, the Institute (IIMs) shall, for efficient administration of this Act, be bound by such directions on questions of policy, as the Central Government may give in writing to it from time to time,” a provision of the draft bill says.
“The decision of the Central Government, whether a question is one of policy or not, shall be final,” it adds.
When contacted, former IIM-Lucknow director Devi Singh said, “For academic decisions and measures, IIMs have never gone beyond the board. So now if a provision like this has been inserted, I don’t know what is the rationale behind it… We were all involved in the process of drafting the bill together and I don’t remember any such clause being debated.” He added that he had not seen this version of the draft bill.