The government’s long-drawn search for the directors of IIM Bodh Gaya and IIM Amritsar has not yielded results. Ganesan Kannabiran, acting head of NIT Trichy and director of Centre for Entrepreneurship Development and Incubation at the institute, has turned down the government’s offer to serve as the first director of IIM Bodh Gaya.
The Indian Express has also learnt that Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC), headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has not approved the HRD Ministry’s choice for the top job at IIM Amritsar. HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar recommended Dr Pawan Kumar Singh, a professor of organisational behaviour and industrial relations at IIM Indore, for directorship of the institute. The reasons for the ACC’s rejection are not clear. According to sources, the ministry may have to start the selection process afresh by re-advertising the posts at the two IIMs. A final call is yet to be taken on the matter.
The HRD Ministry had set up a single search-cum-selection committee, headed by Pankaj Patel, CMD of Zydus Cadila, for appointment of directors to six new IIMs set up by the NDA government in Bodh Gaya (Bihar), Sirmaur (Himachal Pradesh), Visakhapatnam (Andhra Pradesh), Nagpur (Maharashtra), Sambalpur (Odisha) and Amritsar (Punjab).
Of the total 97 applications received for the six IIMs, the search panel called 32 candidates for interview and shortlisted a panel of three names for each IIM. Javadekar backed the candidature of Singh for Amritsar and Kannabiran for Bodh Gaya. While the latter was approved by ACC, Singh’s name was sent back by the committee, seeking more suggestions.
Kannabiran’s selection was announced on February 11 by the DoPT along with the appointment of directors at the new IIMs, except the one in Amritsar. However, once the formal offer was made to Kannabiran, sources said, he turned it down. They said it could be because he did not want to relocate too far from Trichy, where his family lives. The HRD Ministry hasn’t decided whether the offer should be made to one of the other two contenders on the panel sent by the search committee or to re-advertise the post.
When contacted, Kannabiran said he had not received the offer letter and, hence, the question of turning down the job did not arise. A questionnaire sent to the ministry’s spokesperson Ghanshyam Goel did not elicit any response.