Laying Down IIT Sort Of Law For IIMs: HRD

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New Delhi, Sep 27 (UNI) Reminding that India's ace management schools ''are public institutions... accountable to'' Parliament, the government today acknowledged legislating to empower them to award degrees to students.

The Indian Institutes of Management ''are not competent to do so at present,'' a statement by the Human Resource Development Ministry said.

At the same time, the Ministry asserted that the IIMs ''enjoy complete autonomy'' in academic matters, fees and selection of faculty.

It said the government has no ''wish to, in any way, curtail the autonomy of the IIMs and the reports appearing in a section of Press are baseless, misleading and mischievous.'' The Ministry was commenting on some news reports that a new law is planned to control IIMs, saying it ''is far from truth and is not based on facts.'' It said the IIMs in India ''function under their respective Memorandum of Association... and rules and regulations framed thereunder.

''They are societies registered under the Societies Registration Act. The IIMs are public institutions and are accountable to... Parliament.

''Their accounts are annually audited by the Comptroller and Auditor General and their Annual Reports along with the audited accounts are submitted to... Parliament.

''They enjoy complete autonomy as regards the academic matters and matters relating to fees, selection of faculty, introduction of new courses, incurring of expenditure in conformity with the prudence involved in public spending.'' The HRD Ministry said the Ahmedabad, Kolkata and Bangalore IIMs ''are not dependent on government funds for their day to day operational expenses,'' but ''this in no way compromises their status of being public institutions.'' It added that even these schools are proposed to be given funds for future expansion.

The Ministry said it is ''examining the issue of bringing the IIMs in the country under an umbrella legislation like the Institutes of Technology Act.'' But it made clear that ''bringing the IIMs under the ambit of a Central law will in no way alter their accountability to...

Parliament or their status of being public institutions, while it will empower the IIMs to award degrees to the students which they are not competent to do so at present.'' The statement said Parliament has already been informed about such a legislation which is not intended to limit their financial or administrative autonomy.

Neither a Bill has so far been drafted nor indeed referred to the Law Ministry.

Dispelling any notions to the contrary, the Ministry said: -- The schools are already, under the MoAs, required to maintain a fund in which moneys from the government or fees or gifts have to be kept; -- They already need Central government permission to acquire or dispose of immoveable properties; -- The IITs have flourished as institutes of excellence under the Institutes of Technology Act which has not adversely affected their autonomy; -- The government is already empowered to appoint one or more persons to review the IIMs' work and progress, as it did in 1979 and 1991 under H P Nanda and Dr V Kurien respectively; -- It sought to set up a third Review Committee under former Reserve Bank of India Governor S Venkitaramanan as almost a decade and a half ''has elapsed since the last review''; -- Its Terms of Reference include reviewing IIMs' status in fulfillment of their objectives, their expansion proposals during the 11th Plan, per student cost of various courses, availability of educational loans, scholarships and freeships to students-- not to suggest a suitable legislation.

Venkitaramanan having excused himself because of deteriorating health, the government is ''in the process of nominating a suitable Chairperson to head this proposed Review Committee.'' UNI

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