IIMs May Grant Degrees After LS Passes Bill Giving Them Autonomy
HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar
HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar (Photo: PTI)

IIMs May Grant Degrees After LS Passes Bill Giving Them Autonomy

The Lok Sabha on Friday passed a bill which provides for giving autonomy to the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) by restricting the government role in their functioning.

The Indian Institutes of Management Bill, 2017, grants statutory powers to all the IIMs in their running including appointment of directors, faculty members besides giving them powers to award degrees instead of post graduate diplomas.

HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar described the bill as “historic” and expressed confidence that it will enable the IIMs as well as the education system to prosper.

It is greater autonomy and in that direction we want to go.

Justifying the decision to restrict the government role in the IIMs, Javadekar said institutes like MIT and Harvard are big and world class because they are free and autonomous.

He appreciated the fact that 22 members from various political parties spoke in favour of autonomy for the 20 IIMs and said it showed that the country is changing.

We are giving real freedom to our institutions. We must trust our best brains.

He said it is already established that the IIMs are the institutions of excellence and “we must accord them the status of national importance”.

On the move to restrict the government role in the IIMs, which earned him a rare praise from the Opposition parties in the House, Javadekar said that while people mostly do not give up their chair, “my thinking is different”.

There will be parliamentary accountability, he said, adding, “I told all the IIM directors in my recent meeting that this will be our last meeting as a (minister being the) chairman.”

With regard to the provision that will enable the IIMs to grant degrees and doctorates, Javadekar said a fellow of the IIM is not regarded as PhD and needs to go to foreign countries to do research.

Now they will do research in India...To all IIMs in India, I can now say that it is your’s. Let us make a definitive change.

He said Prime Minister Narendra Modi's vision is also to give real autonomy to higher institutions.

Earlier, participating in the debate, Congress leader Shashi Tharoor said it was a "remarkable moment when a minister surrenders (his) powers".

He said other ministers in the government should draw inspiration from Javadekar in doing so.

(The article has been edited for length.)

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