Command and control- Changes in the law will affect IMs’ autonomy

Source: The post is based on the article “Command and control- Changes in the law will affect IMs’ autonomy” published in “Business standard” on 8th August 2023.

Syllabus: GS2- Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Education, Human Resources.

News: The article discusses recent changes in the Indian Institute of Management (Amendment) Bill, 2023, which gives the Indian government more control over the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs). This raises concerns about the institutes’ autonomy and potential interference in their functioning.

What are the major changes in the Indian Institute of Management (Amendment) Bill, 2023?

Director’s Appointment: Earlier, the board of governors (BOG) chose the IIM director based on recommendations. Now, they need approval from the “visitor”, the President of India.

Search Committee: A member nominated by the visitor will be part of the director search committee.

Chairperson’s Nomination: Previously, the board chose the chairperson. Now, the President will nominate them.

Visitor’s Powers: The visitor can initiate inquiries in IIMs and issue binding directives based on findings.

Board Suspension: The government can set conditions for suspending or dissolving an IIM’s board.

What are its implications?

Government Influence: The government gains significant control over IIMs, especially in the appointment of key roles like directors and chairpersons.

Potential Interference: While the government claims no intention to interfere, the new powers could allow future intrusions into IIM operations.

Autonomy Concerns: The 2017 law prioritized IIM autonomy, but these changes might reverse that, potentially hindering IIMs’ adaptability and efficiency.

What should be done?

Preserve Autonomy: Maintain the operational independence of IIMs, as it allows them to adapt quickly and effectively.

Clear Intent: The government should clearly communicate its intentions, ensuring no undue interference in the IIMs’ functioning.

Performance Reviews: Reinforce the need for independent reviews every three years to boost quality and encourage competition among IIMs.

Address Functional Issues: While ensuring autonomy, address issues related to director appointments and other functional areas that weren’t handled well previously.

Balance: Establish a balance between autonomy and accountability, making sure IIMs use their independence constructively.

Focus on Excellence: Any change should prioritize IIMs’ mission of offering top-tier management education and research.

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