Photo: Mint
Photo: Mint

IIMs to devise common minimum agenda of governance

On the verge of enjoying full autonomy, the IIMs feel that they have now a bigger responsibility

New Delhi: The prestigious Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) will have a common minimum programme of governance to help them stay and grow together.

The IIMs, which are on the verge of enjoying full autonomy, will towards this end draw up a common governance framework on recruitment, examinations, courses, degrees, tax treatment and other areas.

Because of the IIM Act, these elite business schools feel they have a bigger responsibility and everyone needs to be on the same page.

IIMs have had two rounds of discussions on the issue, IIM Bangalore director G. Raghuram said. Once the rules are finalised by the government, all the IIMs will sit down to give a final shape to their common agenda and set up a coordination forum. The ministry of human resource development (HRD) is also involved in finalising the rules, which are seen as necessary to implement the Indian Institute of Management Act 2017 granting these institutes autonomy. The Act was notified in January 2018.

“Because of the Act, there is a greater responsibility on IIMs. Earlier IIMs used to do different kinds of things depending on their assessment of the market. We wanted to get into a common ground…we have not frozen on it yet…but sensitizing each other," Raghuram said.

A senior professor from another IIM said requesting anonymity that “unless all IIMs are on the same page, it will have not an impact on the brand IIM. When you have little government influence, it is important to have a common agenda that will loosely bind everyone—the older IIMs, those created after 2008 and those established in 2015-16. Three layers of these schools have their own challenges but especially the new ones will need a bigger handholding from the older IIMs for their growth and governance."

Raghuram of IIM-B gave the example of how IIMs have been deliberating what kind of course and credit duration will be called a degree or a diploma or something other than a diploma. He said coordination on recruitment and common admission tests is ongoing, adding that IIMs are also looking at offering of courses where each can build on the expertise of the other.

As per the IIM Act, there will be an IIM coordination forum to be notified by the central government and headed by an eminent person.

However, the IIM coordination forum and the common agenda may not be like the existing IIT (Indian Institute of Technology) Council. Another professor from an older IIM said the IIT Council is very close knit and it is headed by the HRD minister. “It will be less close-knit than the IIT Council and will leave a space for individual IIMs to flourish by adopting individual minds if necessary… Directors and board chairmen of IIMs are in a better position to devise a common agenda on key issues via the coordination forum," the third professor added.

IIM professors said a common minimum agenda will help effectively implement the IIM Act and reap the maximum autonomy it guarantees to IIMs as individual schools and as a common brand. The synergy, the handholding, the growth plan need a common agenda, added the second person cited above.