New Delhi :- The Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha today passed a Bill urging that the management accountability of the Indian Institutes of Management (IIM)s should be with the President, who will now be a Visitor. This means the President of India will now have the power to audit the functioning of IIMs, order probes and appoint as well as remove directors. The President is already a visitor at IITs and NITs.
This Bill will now be presented to the President of India Droupadi Murmu before it becomes an Act.
The Union Education Minister, Dharmendra Pradhan, in the Lower House, said that the aim of this Bill (which seeks to amend the IIM Act of 2017) is not to take away the academic accountability from the institute, but is instead to ensure its management accountability as the Centre has spent over Rs 6,000 crore in setting up the IIMs.
Under the existing dispensation, the President is also a visitor at IITs and NITs, but no questions are being raised on the academic autonomy of these institutes, Pradhan said.
“The Visitor may appoint one or more persons to review the work and progress of any institute, to hold enquiries into affairs thereof and to report in such manner as the Visitor may direct. The board may also recommend to the Visitor an enquiry as deemed proper against the institute which has not been functioning in accordance with provisions and objectives of the Act,” it stated.
The Indian Express had earlier reported that assent for the amendments — these include making the President a Visitor to the institutes, with the power to appoint the Chairperson of the Board of Governors — was taken on September 14, 2022 in a meeting attended by Directors of the newer IIMs. “The Directors of IIM Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Calcutta, Indore, Lucknow and Kozhikode were not there at the meeting, because the government majorly wanted the opinion of the newer IIMs,” Jaiswal told The Indian Express.
This is the second time the union government has tried to bring this change in the 20 premier Business-schools. In December 2020, The Indian Express reported on how the Education Ministry had a draft executive order with the Law Ministry with a proposal to empower the Government to initiate an inquiry against the Board of Governors of an institute if it’s ostensibly found to be acting in contravention of the Act. The proposal was eventually shot down by the Law Ministry as it went against the grain of the IIM Act.
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