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HRD Ministry Agrees to Free IIMs via New Bill
The HRD or the Human Resource Development Ministry, under its new head Prakash Javadekar, has surrendered to every one of the changes proposed to the IIM Bill by the Prime Minister's Office (PMO). It would give the premier B-Schools autonomy— considerably more than they currently enjoy. Javadekar had initially consented to give up the administration's part in selecting the executive of the Board of Governors (BoG) at all IIMs. However, the Bill has experienced the second makeover since he assumed responsibility from Smriti Irani in July.
As per sources in the Law Ministry, the HRD Ministry has now moved an additional Cabinet note proposing three more changes to the Bill.
The institutes, under the most recent rendition of the draft law, are allowed to delegate their directors. Presently, a selection committee shortlists the board of names, from which the director is appointed by the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet. Javadekar has consented to enable the BoG of an IIM to delegate its director from the shortlisted candidates.
The new draft has additionally dropped all references to the President, who is the Visitor of all IIMs. This implies the President will no more have the ability to review their work.
Further, the ministry has surrendered the HRD Minister's part as the head of the IIM Coordination Forum, that was meant to offer help to IIMs in influencing each other's resources and give them policy direction. Presently, an "eminent person" will head this body.
During the reign of Smriti Irani, the PMO had prescribed more than five changes to the draft law — which included amendments like to engage the leading B-schools to honour degrees rather than diplomas and to weaken the extent of government control over the organisations.
The HRD Ministry under Irani's initiative had not acknowledged all the proposed changes. While it agreed to increase the number of female members and alumni on the BoG of each IIM from three to five and from one to three, respectively, the ministry had held the provision which makes the HRD Minister the head of the IIM Coordinating Forum. The PMO was not in favour for this.
The HRD Ministry was also not willing to weaken the provision that enabled the President to audit the work of any IIM in his ability as Visitor. The PMO then essentially blocked Cabinet endorsement for the Bill and the matter was raised to Nripendra Misra, Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister.
At a meeting held with the PMO in July, after Javadekar accepted the charge, the ministry conceded to surrendering its part in the appointment of the BoG chairperson.
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