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Union HRD minister Smriti Irani. The government may relax land requirement for opening new IIMs as arranging 200-300 acres near a city is not an easy task. Photo: Hindustan Times
Union HRD minister Smriti Irani. The government may relax land requirement for opening new IIMs as arranging 200-300 acres near a city is not an easy task. Photo: Hindustan Times

Govt, experts discuss viability options for six new IIMs

Land requirement, possibility of mentoring of proposed IIMs by older peers, faculty and physical infrastructure were discussed during the meeting

New Delhi: Officials of the Union human resources development (HRD) ministry on Tuesday met representatives of some of the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs), industry experts and state government officials, to discuss issues related to the opening of six new IIMs by the next academic year.

The central government officials were led by the higher education secretary, at least two government officials said, requesting anonymity.

“Four key areas—land requirement, possibility of mentoring of proposed IIMs by older peers, faculty and physical infrastructure—were discussed during the meeting," one of the two officials said.

“There are indicative places where new IIMs can come up, but the HRD ministry cannot go by indicative places and has asked states that they may suggest more than one location before a final site selection takes place," the second official said. “This is the first comprehensive meeting on proposed IIMs and from now on every stakeholder will come on the same page."

The Union budget presented on 10 July had proposed IIMs in Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Bihar, Odisha and Maharashtra. The sixth IIM will come up in Andhra Pradesh as part of the Andhra Pradesh Reorganization Bill. Currently, India has 13 IIMs.

The first official said though there was criticism about opening more IIMs when the ones established in the last five years were struggling, popular aspiration for more quality institutions was justified.

But the HRD ministry has to keep in mind two prime issues—new IIMs must come up in a place where there is a “decent level of urban infrastructure like airport or a major rail head, and good quality hospitality arrangements. Two, it must be established near industrial clusters as it will go a long way in improving industry-academia collaboration, placement and attraction for faculties to join the institutions", said the first official.

The first official said IIMs and Indian Institutes of Technology were symbols of aspiration and one cannot blame the government for opening more of them.

On the mentoring part, the second official said that older IIMs have flagged some issues and hand-holding by them could be an ideal situation.

“But it’s not a prerequisite for the ministry for opening new IIMs. It can directly appoint a director and he or she will run the show from day one," said the official.

The government may relax land requirement for opening new IIMs as arranging 200-300 acres near a city is not an easy task. The government has already set up a committee to look into the issue and may allow vertical campuses than the present horizontal system.

“The country needs more quality institutions, but establishing new IIMs would be a huge challenge," R.C. Bhargava, chairman of Maruti Suzuki India Ltd had said earlier this month. Bhargava is also the chairman of the board of governors at IIM-Ranchi.

S. Parashar, a former director of IIM-Indore, said the government has to keep in mind the physical and intellectual infrastructure of new IIMs. Six new IIMs that have come up in the last five years are operating out of temporary campuses.

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