A Bill granting autonomy to Indian Institute of Managements (IIMs) in recruitment of faculty, appointment of directors and administration was passed by the Lok Sabha on Friday. The Indian Institutes of Management Bill, 2017, grants statutory powers to all the IIMs in their functioning, gives them powers to award degrees instead of postgraduate diplomas and allows them to offer PhD programmes. Describing the Bill as historic, HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar said it would help IIMs become quality institutions like the Harvard University. “It is greater autonomy and in that direction we want to go,” he said during a debate on the Bill.
Justifying the decision to restrict the government’s role in the IIMs, he said institutes like MIT and Harvard are world-class because they are autonomous. “We are giving real freedom to our institutions. We must trust our best brains,” he said. However, he said, there will be parliamentary accountability.
Earlier, Congress leader Shashi Tharoor said it was a “remarkable moment when a minister surrenders (his) powers”. He, however, suggested the government should have some say in determining fee structure in the IIMs as higher fees may badly hit students from the poor families. Tharoor slammed the government for removing the name of former PM Rajiv Gandhi from the name of Shillong IIM, saying it is “petty” of the government to stoop to such level. Javadekar responded by saying that none of the IIMs, except the one in Shillong, had the name of any person attached, and there needed to be uniformity.