Opposition lauds move to give IIMs more autonomy

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The bill - which declares 20 existing IIMs as Institutions of National Importance - was later passed after all amendments moved by some members were rejected.

Union HRD Minister, Prakash Javadekar, in his speech asked that Institutes be given the power to reform. He said, the aim of the bill is to grant autonomy and freedom to these best institutes to conduct their academic affairs and for better functioning in the field of education and research. Justifying the decision to restrict the Government role in the IIMs, Javadekar said that institutes like MIT and Harvard are big and world class because they are free and autonomous.

He suggested the government should have some say in determining fee structure in the IIMs as higher fees may badly hit students from the poor families. Shashi Tharoor form Congress, Poonam Mahajan form BJP and membersfrom other parties participated in the discussion. "We will get Maya and Akhilesh together along with Mamata (Banerjee)", Lalu said on Thursday after being left in the cold by JD (U), his former alliance partner. The Bill further has provisions for appointment of members of the board of governors (BoG) in each of the 20 IIMs through a transparent process, while limiting even the HRD Minister's role. "It is hard to run IIMs from here (New Delhi)".

During the debate, members cutting across political divide supported the bill and welcomed enhanced autonomy for the IIMs. They said the issue never came up for talks and was only being speculated in the media. The remaining two members will be nominees from the central and state governments, respectively. "Apart from enabling us to give formal degrees, it will give us greater autonomy primarily because the appointment of the chairperson and the director can be at the board level rather than having to be processed by the Ministry and the ACC". A search committee will recommend names for the post of Director who is eligible for variable pay, to be determined by the board.

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