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Bill proposed for selection of ‘President as a Visitor’ to IIM Institutions

  • Published
    31st Jul, 2023

Recently, the Centre introduced a bill to make amendments in the Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Act 2017 in the Parliament, to make the ‘President the Visitor’ of all IIMs.

Who is a Visitor?

The Visitor may, from time to time, appoint one or more persons to review the work and progress of the University, including Colleges and Institutions maintained by it, and to submit a report thereon; and upon receipt of that report, the Visitor may, after obtaining the views of the Executive Council.

Background:
  • The move could potentially curb the autonomy granted to all Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) in 2017, regarding the one-year executive course offered for MBA.
  • In July 2020, the Education Ministry has also given directions against the one-year executive MBA degree, saying it is “not in accordance with the UGC Regulations”.
  • However, the IIMs defended their decision and continued to run the programme.

About the proposed amendment:

  • The Bill proposes to appoint the President of India as the “Visitor” of every IIM through an insertion of a new section, (10 A), in the principal 2017 Act.
  • The amendment is going to restrict the IIM Board of the power to select and appoint chairpersons and directors to the institutes.
  • Under the amendments, the Visitor will have the power to appoint the Chairperson to the Board of Governors (BoGs) of the institute, and nominate an individual to the search-cum-selection committee for the positions of Director.
  • As per the Bill, the Visitor will also have the power to appoint the Chairperson to the Coordination Forum of the institute.
  • The amended bill has done away with Section 17 of the IIM Act 2017 that gave powers to the board to initiate an inquiry in the functioning of an IIM, if required.
  • While the central government does not have any power at present to order the IIMs on any matter, the amendments make it so that any directive from the Ministry of Education would have to be implemented by the institute.

What is the present system of IIMs?

  • The BoG, is the principal executive body of the IIMs, regulates the functioning of the institutes.
  • Besides the chairperson, it comprises one nominee of the central government and one nominee of the respective state governments, among others.
  • Under the IIM Act, 2017, the BoG had the power to appoint the chairman, chosen from among eminent persons distinguished in the field of industry or education or science or technology or management or public administration or such other field.
  • A retired high court judge was to conduct the inquiry in the functioning of an IIM, based on which the board would take the decision.

Powers of President as a Visitor:

  • The President of India shall be the Visitor of the University.
  • Functions:
  • The Visitor may, from time to time, appoint one or more persons to review the work and progress of the University, including Colleges and Institutions managed by it.
  • It also submits a report thereon; and upon receipt of that report after obtaining the views of the Executive Council through the Vice-Chancellor, takes such action and issues such directions as he considers necessary in respect of any of the matters dealt with in the report and the University shall be bound to comply with such directions.
  • Powers:
  • The Visitor shall have the right to cause an inspection to be made by such person or persons as he may direct, of the University, its buildings, laboratories and equipment, and of any College or Institution maintained by the University or admitted to its privileges; and also of the examinations, teaching and other work conducted or done by the University and to cause an inquiry to be made in like manner in respect of any matter connected with the administration or finances of the University, Colleges or Institutions.

Concerns associated:

  • Transfer of Autonomy: The search and selection committee, headed by the chairman of the BoG, will still be there. But in the amended bill, the director will be appointed by the BoG with prior approval of the Visitor.
  • Changing essence of the Board: The amendments are certainly a change from the original philosophy of the bill, which called for accountability of the board and gave it autonomy. Though internationally the concept of a board has worked, there have been a few instances in IIMs which were concerning. 

Indian Institute of Management (IIMs) in India:

  • The Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) located at Ahmedabad, Kolkata, Bangalore, Lucknow, Indore, Kozhikode and Shillong are institutions of excellence, established with the objectives of imparting high quality management education and training, conducting research and providing consultancy services in the field of management to various sectors of the Indian economy.

During the Eleventh Five Year Plan, six new IIMs have been set up at Rohtak (Haryana), Raipur (Chhattisgarh), Ranchi (Jharkhand), Tiruchirappalli (Tamil Nadu), Kashipur (Uttarakhand) and Udaipur (Rajasthan).

  • These Institutions are recognized as premier management institutions, comparable to the best in the World for teaching, research and interaction with industries.
  • All the IIMs are registered Societies governed by their respective Board of Governors.
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