Govt holds talks with IIM directors over bill

New Delhi: Seeking to allay concerns about the contentious IIM bill, government today engaged in lengthy deliberations with the institute directors who have raised fears about the legislation undermining their autonomy.

The meeting could follow another round of consultation with the IIM directors as the HRD Ministry has earlier hinted at “reviewing” and “correcting any inconsistencies” in the controversial draft Bill.

“We are working hard to arrive at a consensus,” said one of the IIM directors emerging out of the meeting while a second director of a new IIM was hopeful of the revised draft being approved soon before it is taken up in the Winter Session of Parliament.

Ministry officials on the other hand maintained that the meeting was called to understand the views of the directors on the contentious clauses and suggestions.

The meeting was chaired by Higher Education Secretary V S Oberoi.

HRD Minister Smriti Irani had in August held an hour-long discussion with the chairperson of IIM-Bangalore’s board of governors, Kiran Mazumdar Shaw and described as a “fallacy” the criticism surrounding the Bill.

The government has 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.

“Government is trying to ensure that we have an accountable structure without affecting autonomy,” Shaw had said. She had also hinted 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 earlier, 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”.