BILL on IIMs
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Context: Indian Institutes of Management (Amendment) Bill, 2023, proposes to amend the Indian Institutes of Management Act, 2017, which was enacted to grant statutory status and autonomy to the IIMs. The Bill seeks to give the government more power and control over the functioning and administration of the IIMs, especially in matters related to the appointment and removal of Directors, and the initiation of inquiries against them.
- The Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) are among the most prestigious and autonomous institutions of higher education in the country. They offer various courses and programs in management and related fields and are known for their academic excellence and quality research. However, a recent Bill introduced by the government in Parliament undermines their autonomy and independence.
- According to the Bill, the government will have the authority to appoint a person as the Director of an IIM, after considering the recommendations of a search-cum-selection committee. The government will also have the power to remove a Director from office if it is satisfied that he or she is unfit to continue in office, or has committed misconduct or violated any provision of the Act.
- The government will be able to initiate an inquiry against a Director; either on its own or on a complaint received from any source, and suspends him or her during the pendency of the inquiry.
Objectives Stated by the Government
- The government has defended the Bill as a necessary step to ensure accountability and transparency in the governance and administration of the IIMs. It has claimed that the Bill does not intend to interfere with the academic autonomy or curricular aspects of the IIMs but only seeks to provide a mechanism for oversight and supervision in matters related to finance, administration, and personnel.
- Government said that the Bill will not affect the existing powers and functions of the Board of Governors or the Academic Council of each IIM, which are responsible for making decisions on academic matters.
- The Bill has raised serious concerns among the academic community and the alumni of the IIMs, who fear that it will compromise the autonomy and academic freedom of the IIMs, and make them vulnerable to political interference and bureaucratic meddling.
- They argue that the Bill goes against the spirit and intent of the 2017 Act, which was meant to empower the IIMs to manage their affairs without any external influence or pressure. They also contend that the Bill will adversely affect the quality and reputation of the IIMs, and hamper their ability to attract and retain talented faculty and students.
The Bill is recently passed in the lok sabha and is currently pending in Rajya Sabha, where it is likely to face stiff opposition from various parties and groups. It remains to be seen whether it will be passed by both Houses of Parliament, or whether it will be withdrawn or modified by the government in response to the criticism and protests from various quarters.
IIMs and the question of autonomy: https://www.iasgyan.in/daily-current-affairs/iims-and-the-question-of-autonomy
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