The core principles underlying the IIM bill cleared by Parliament last week are important. The 20 Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) will become autonomous institutions led by their boards. Each IIM’s academic council will have the power to decide academic content, the admission process and guidelines for examinations.
The government will take a step back. The central and state governments will appoint a board member each. The other 17 board members will be selected by the board of governors of each IIM. There is now a strong case for extending these principles to other academic institutions, such as the Indian Institutes of Technology.
Human resource development minister Prakash Javadekar deserves credit for backing the idea of autonomy for IIMs. India needs to rejuvenate its broken system of higher education with a combination of public universities, private universities and autonomous institutions. The licence raj overseen by bodies such as the Universities Grants Commission and the All India Council of Technical Education should be the next to go.