Despite stiff opposition from the Indian Institutes of Management,particularly IIM Ahmedabad,Bangalore and Calcutta,the controversial coordinating forum has been revived and retained by the Union Human Resource Development Ministry in its latest draft of the proposed IIM Bill.
The forum was opposed by IIMs as they felt such an overarching body would undermine their autonomy. But their arguments have been firmly rejected by the HRD Ministry in the draft Bill.
The council,to be chaired by the HRD Minister,will coordinate activities of all 13 IIMs,deliberate on matters of common interest,review achievement of policy objectives and prepare reports on each institute.
IIM Ahmedabad,which has been the most vociferous in its opposition,feels such a body would impose uniformity over an otherwise diverse set of IIMs.
An overarching council was first proposed by an IIM review committee,led by R C Bhargava,in 2009.
The draft Bill,which offers degree-granting powers to IIMs,also plans to introduce the concept of a Visitor in the institutes. The President of India is already the Visitor/ex-officio Visitor of all Central Universities,NITs and IITs.
The Visitor has the power to appoint IIM Directors and nominate members to the executive committee,board of management,court and selection committees of institutions. The Visitor may also exercise powers in matters of amendments,additions and repeal of status; suspension and disallowance of Ordinances,etc.
The issue of the dissolving societies in each IIM has also been dealt with,keeping in mind the views of all IIMs. IIM Ahmedabad and Bangalore had insisted on the need to retain societies as their members contribute significantly to the institutes.
The HRD ministry,in the new Bill,said the societies can continue as advisory bodies.