IIM Bill likely to be watered down

Following objections from some of the IIMs, the Ministry of Human Resource Development has decided to water down provisions of the IIM Bill that gives greater powers to the Centre.

Official sources said the ministry would meet with the heads of the institutions seriously objecting to certain provisions of the Bill to reach a “compromise formula”.

It will also reconvene the expert committee that drafted the Bill to discuss the changes to the Bill to ensure all the IIMs could be brought on board.

“The ministry is open to all suggestions. That is why it has placed the Bill in public domain,” sources said. “It is examining comments received so far and would decide on changes to bring all IIMs on board.”

A section of the older IIMs led by IIM Ahmedabad cited five specific clauses in the Bill that gives significant powers to the Centre to decide on all policy matters, including the power to fix the fee structure.

IIM Ahmedabad Director Ashish Nanda met senior officials of the HRD ministry on Monday, days after he came out strongly against the Bill.

“The draft Bill gives control of the government in almost every matter such as selecting Chairman of the Board of Governors, fee structure, expenses etc. They cover everything from strategic to operational decisions,” Nanda said at a press conference in Ahmedabad last week. 

IIMs in Kolkata, Lucknow, Bangalore, Kozhikode and Indore have joined IIM Ahmedabad in opposing the Bill, while many of the newer IIMs have supported the legislation.

The institutes claim that the clause requiring Centre’s approval for decisions made by the Board of Governors and the clause providing “sweeping powers” to the Centre had been added without their knowledge.

“The Ministry may consider bringing changes to these two clauses. The power to formulate regulations could remain with the IIMs’ board of governors while the Centre’s role could be limited to just laying such regulations in Parliament for the approval of the two Houses,” official sources said.

However, they said the amendments could be made only with the approval of HRD Minister Smriti Irani.

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