Special Correspondent

HRD Ministry eager to contain damage

NEW DELHI: As a damage-control measure in the wake of the latest stand-off between the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) and the Government, Human Resource Development Minister Arjun Singh has called a meeting of all IIM directors on February 1 to discuss a host of issues. On top of the agenda will be autonomy that the current regime at the Ministry is perceived to have eroded with its decision to bar IIM-Bangalore from setting up an offshore campus in Singapore.

The Ministry in a statement on Thursday reiterated its commitment to the autonomy of institutes of higher learning. The meeting, according to the Ministry, "will deliberate further upon strengthening the autonomy and also discuss whether it is perceived to have been diminished in any way in the recent past."

Since restoring the autonomy of educational institutions was a commitment made by the United Progressive Alliance Government in its National Common Minimum Programme, the Ministry waseager to contain the damage caused to its "autonomy-friendly'' image by the recent stand-off with the IIMs.

The Ministry recently denied permission to IIM-Bangalore to open a campus in Singapore on the premise that its Memorandum of Association did not allow it to do so. Also, the Ministry would rather want the IIMs meet the demand for quality management education within the country first before moving offshore.