|Introduction: Brief context of the Bill.|
Body: Main features of the Bill & how these can impact the functioning of IIMs:
Conclusion: Way forward.
Recently, the Government introduced the Indian Institutes of Management (Amendment) Bill, 2023 in the Lok Sabha to amend the statute governing IIM operations raising concerns about the planned modifications’ potential to reduce the IIMs’ autonomy. The purpose of the act is to undo the changes brought by the Indian Institutes of Management Act, 2017 which had hugely expanded the autonomy already enjoyed by the IIMs.
Main features of the Bill & how these can impact the functioning of IIMs:
- Appointment of the Director: The proposed Bill amends the 2017 Act & gives the government an expanded role in the appointment of the IIM Director. Under the previous Act, the Director was appointed by a Board of Governors, and the government had a limited say in the process. The Bill proposes that the President of India shall be the Visitor of every Institute’” & prescribes three primary roles for the Visitor: to make appointments, to audit the working of institutions, and to conduct an inquiry.
- Accountability: The proposed Bill by giving more powers to the Visitor as the Chairperson of the Board of Governors will be nominated by the Visitor. This will seek to restore the principle of democratic accountability in IIMs.
- Inquiries against IIMs: The proposed Bill confers the power of inquiry upon the Visitor. It deprives the Board of its power to conduct an inquiry against an Institute if it has not been functioning as per directions given under the Act.
- Dissolution of the Board: The proposed law would also permit the creation of an interim board by the Union government if the current board of governors was to be suspended or dissolved. It also makes it essential for the board to obtain “prior approval of the Visitor” before removing any director from office for any norm violation.
- Coordination Forums: According to the proposed legislation, the “Visitor” may also choose the chairperson of each IIM’s coordinating forum. These groups are in charge of encouraging the cooperation and coordination that the institutes’ work requires, as well as monitoring the accomplishment of the goals outlined in the policy.
- Incorporation of Institutes: According to the Act, any employee of an existing institution that becomes an IIM under this Act would continue to receive the same tenure, pay, and pension benefits. The Director of such institutions is exempt from this provision under the Bill. Recently, the National Institute of Industrial Engineering (NITIE), Mumbai has been classified as IIM, Mumbai.
The proposed bill seeks to establish meaningful checks and balances on the institutes & restore the accountability of IIMs to the government. However, there is a need for discussion among stakeholders, including IIMs, policymakers, and education experts, to find the most suitable balance between accountability and autonomy for these premier B-schools.