Saturday, June 27, 2015

Rajesh Pandathil: NDA's attack on IIM autonomy reveals Modi govt is adept at empty sloganeering

After Indian Institutes of Technology, it is the Indian Institutes of Management. With the heightening opposition to the draft IIM Bill, which is perceived to be a threat to their autonomy, you can't help but wonder what is it that the NDA has against these premier education institutions.

Remember, under NDA-1 too the IIMs had to grin and bear government interference in their functions when Murli Manohar Joshi, as human resource minister, sought to cut their fees drastically. The move was done under the pretext of reducing commercialisation of education. It was the UPA government that came to power in 2004, which undid these damages.

The NDA-2's draft IIM Bill, now available on www.mygov.in, seems to be bringing back the ghost of the NDA past for these institutions. Many have already expressed reservations that the proposed bill will reduce institutes to just "operational centres".

Let us look the contentious provisions in the draft that are attracting criticism:

a) Section 7 (i) says every institute shall have power "to determine, specify and receive payment of, fees with prior intimation to the Central Government and other charges as the Institute may deem fit, from students and any other person, institution or body corporate for instruction and other services, including training, consultancy and advisory services, provided by the Institute;

This means the institutes will have to go to the government to get permission to take any decision on fees. This is dangerous because fee in such premier institutions should not be a political decision.
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