HRD ministry manages to forge consensus on IIM bill

HRD minister Prakash Javadekar wins support of all IIMs, persuades them to enrol more students from the coming academic year


HRD minister Prakash Javadekar. The IIM bill became controversial over fears that it would erode the autonomy of these premier business schools. Photo: HT
HRD minister Prakash Javadekar. The IIM bill became controversial over fears that it would erode the autonomy of these premier business schools. Photo: HT

New Delhi: The human resource development (HRD) ministry on Tuesday won the support of all Indian Institutes of Management (IIM) for the controversial IIM bill and persuaded them to enrol more students from the coming academic year.

HRD minister Prakash Javadekar discussed these and other issues with the chairpersons and directors of all 19 IIMs at a meeting in Shillong.

Although Javadekar did not say anything about the IIM bill, a government official privy to the proceedings said that the bill is a “done deal now with all IIMs on board”.

“IIM bill is an important matter and no meeting is complete without talking about it. With all IIMs present at the meeting, you can only see its progress. Now, the cabinet will take a final call on the bill soon,” said the official, requesting anonymity.

The bill became controversial over fears that it would erode the autonomy of these premier business schools. However, following an intervention by the Prime Minister’s Office, the HRD ministry diluted the bill significantly, accommodating most of the demands of the elite schools. Most disputed issues, such as the composition of IIM boards, selection of board chairmen and course fees will be decided by the IIMs with little say from the ministry, Mint reported on 18 August.

The decision to increase the intake of students at IIMs came after Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT) council and the HRD ministry last month decided to increase the IIT intake capacity by 40% over the next three academic years.

Officials who spoke on condition of anonymity said the IIMs may have to raise intake by 30-60 seats per year for the next five years.

Some 3,700 students are admitted to the 19 IIMs in their flagship postgraduate programme through a Common Admission Test every year.

Javadekar said after the meeting in Shillong that “IIMs will increase the students intake” and that each of these B-Schools will individually submit their plans.

“IIMs will submit plans for expansion of their intake capacity, so that more students get the opportunity to enrol themselves in the best institutes. Directors of IIMs pondered upon the possibility of the extent of increasing the intake capacity in their respective institutes and assured of submitting the proposals at the earliest,” the ministry said in separate statement.

Javadekar said he also discussed enrolling more research scholars at IIMs and that his ministry will devise a fellowship scheme to promote this. “Final decision in this regard will be taken with Cabinet approval,” the ministry statement said quoting the minister.

On a proposal to introduce reservation for underprivileged sections of society in teaching jobs at IIMs, the meeting could not reach a conclusion.

“While replying to one of the queries of the reporters…the Minister reiterated that as far as reservations are concerned, it is the constitution which provides for it and the government has no plans to make changes in reservations,” the ministry statement said.

Unlike some higher educational institutions, IIMs do not have reservations in teaching appointments, saying they have been exempted from doing so. An HRD ministry spokesperson said that no final word is out on whether reservations will be implemented at IIMs.

Javadekar also asked IIMs to prepare themselves to bid for the world class institution tag and hoped that they will be forerunners in this government initiative. “It was decided that IIMs will participate in a new initiative of government to make 20 world class universities/institutes. Of these 20 world class institutes that the government wishes to build, 10 institutes will be in government sector and 10 in private sector,” the ministry said in its statement.

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