29 Dec 2017 20:24 IST

IIMs initiate talks on regulations

The IIM Bill gives institutes greater administrative, academic and financial autonomy

Even as the Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Bill, 2017 awaits Presidential assent, the IIMs have initiated the process of consultation to arrive at a consensus on the regulations to adopt.

According to sources at various IIMs, these discussions are important to ensure that the regulations do not vary too much among institutes. There are regulations that need to be put in place under this new regime, said a senior official at one of the IIMs. “These regulations have to be discussed by all the institutes so that we are not too different from each other. The discussions and consultation process has started,” he told BusinessLine.

The IIM Bill, passed by Rajya Sabha recently, is likely to become an Act by January or February. The Act will declare 20 IIMs as Institutes of National Importance and confer them the power to grant degrees. It will also give the institutes greater administrative, academic, and financial autonomy.

Enabling the Boards

The Bill seeks to entrust more power to the Board of Governors. A Board will have full sovereignty to appoint the Chairperson and the Director of an institute, a decision currently taken by the Appointment Committee of the Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister. It will have to, through an independent agency or group of experts, review the performance of the institute — including the faculty — within a period of three years from the date of incorporation, and thereafter at least once every three years, on the parameters of long-term strategy and rolling plans of the institution.

To ensure uniformity across IIMs, the Bill has a provision for a coordination forum that will allow the institutes to discuss common issues and help each other out. This will be an advisory body, headed by an “eminent person”, with limited powers; it will comprise 33 members.

According to Kulbhushan Balooni, Director (In-charge), IIM Kozhikode, the Bill will help IIMs achieve excellence on a global level. The functional autonomy will empower the institutes to compete with their international counterparts.

“The Bill will enable us to provide high-quality management education and promote allied areas of knowledge as well as interdisciplinary studies,” he said

Greater accountability

According to Saibal Chattopadhyay, Director, IIM Calcutta (IIM-C), the Bill will make a Board more “responsible and powerful”, helping the institute strategise a future growth path and think “out-of-box” by leveraging one’s own strengths.

“This (the Bill) entrusts greater responsibility to a Board. Individual institutes will have the last word when it comes to the kind of programmes they want to offer, the teaching and student population they have, and the placements or career options they provide,” he said.

IIM-C hopes to start awarding post-graduate degrees (instead of diplomas) and doctorates (instead of fellowships) from April 2018. “If the Bill becomes an Act, the rules are framed and we get time to adopt them, then we hope to start awarding degrees from April 2018,” Saibal said.