The MINT reports that the Human Resources Development (HRD) ministry in India has decided to drop plans to create an overarching body to govern the IIMs – the change of heart came after the business schools raised concerns, say two government officials.
The human resource development (HRD) ministry has decided against creating a council to bring all Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) under one management body in the face of opposition from top business schools that fear this could erode their autonomy.
The ministry’s change of heart came after the elite business schools raised concerns, said two government officials, who didn’t want to be identified. “The ministry has spoken to all stakeholders to clear its stand that it does not want to interfere. One can call it a climb down, but the path is practical,” said one of the two officials.
Each of the IIMs is structured as a society and governed by its own board of directors.
The government initially planned to create an IIM Council, headed by the HRD minister along the lines of the Indian Institutes of Technology council that takes key decisions for the premier engineering schools. This was supposed to be part of the IIM bill.
Once the law is drafted and passed, IIMs will cease to be societies and become institutions created by statute. However, they will still be governed by their respective boards.
Older IIMs—including the top three business schools at Ahmedabad, Kolkata and Bengaluru—were of the opinion that an IIM Council would mean the ministry “may try to control IIMs from the back door”, the first official said.
The law will not undermine the boards, the first official added. Undermining the board would mean the ministry ends up taking all calls related to the IIMs and apart from it not having the capacity to do so, such a move “will only lead to criticism”, this person said.
The second official listed the other changes the bill will bring about: one, it will allow IIMs to offer MBA degrees (they currently offer postgraduate diplomas) and PhDs; two, it will make the board of governors stronger; and three, it will ensure there is better coordination between the newer IIMs (many of whom are still finding their feet) and the older ones.