Govt hints at ‘reviewing, correcting inconsistencies’ in draft IIM Bill

New Delhi: In a bid to assure IIMs their autonomy, the government on Friday hinted at “reviewing” and “correcting any inconsistencies”in the controversial draft IIM Bill as it sought to reach out to the premier B-schools following heavy criticism over the proposed legislation.

The softening of the government’s stand came on a day when HRD Minister Smriti Irani held an hour-long discussion with the chairperson of IIM-Bangalore’s board HRD Minister Smriti Irani of governors, Kiran Mazumdar Shaw.

Describing as a “fallacy” the criticism surrounding the Bill, she reminded that the draft Bill was prepared by the IIMs themselves and that the apprehensions needed to be “dispelled”.

She also said it was put in the public domain to seek the views of the stakeholders.

The government has also been accused of having intentions of gaining some kind?of control through the Bill in almost every decision that the institutes take.

The IIMs have also pointed to provisions that allegedly infringe on the autonomy of the business schools.

“We will review the Bill. If there is any inconsistency, typographical error, we will correct it,” Higher Education secretary VS Oberoi told reporters here, flanked by both?Irani and Shaw, in an apparent indication vis-a-vis ensuring the autonomous status enjoyed by the B-schools.

He said that the aim through the legislation was to model the IIMs on the lines of other institutes of national importance, like the IITs.

Stating that a lot of concerns regarding the Bill were “clarified” and that she was “satisfied” following her hour- long meeting with the minister, Shaw said she would be talking to other IIM directors and “explain” the provisions to them.

She said that some of the concerns were “baseless” and needed to be “dispelled”.

“We certainly want autonomy and hand-in-hand accountability. I think the Bill has that considered.

“Government is trying to ensure that we have an accountable structure without affecting autonomy,” she said, adding that “some kind of rephrasing” could address their concerns.

The Bill seeks to give the IIMs degree-granting powers and convert them into institutes of national importance.

In a written reply in Parliament last week, Irani had said the Bill “intends to ensure greater synergy and financial autonomy along with commensurate accountability in academic and financial matters of the IIMs”.