Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad (IIM-A) Director Ashish Nanda has criticised the Institutes of Management Bill, 2015, proposed by the Human Resource Development Ministry for its overreach, and has said, “In its current form, it will lead to a serious erosion of IIMs’ autonomy.”
Speaking to The Hindu , Mr. Nanda said the Bill would cause inefficiency, attenuation in the drive to excel, and dampening of innovation in the IIMs. The Hindu reported last week how the >proposed Bill would take away the autonomy of India’s best-known global centres of excellence by stripping them of their decision-making powers.
Mr. Nanda said the proposed centralisation of power would have three consequences. “First, bureaucrats will have considerable decision-making powers, though they may not have the specific knowledge of each IIM. Second, those leading the IIMs will feel disempowered, since most of the decision-making rights will vest with the government. Third, with centralised decision-making will come a tendency to establish uniform rules and procedures,” the IIM-A Director said.
Mr. Nanda said the specific knowledge of running the IIMs vests with the institutes. He cautioned that a regime in which power was centralised made institutional leaders needy; they ended up wasting too much time and energy explaining to government functionaries why they must be supported and what was not working well.
“In such a situation, government officials risk becoming interventionist and the tendency to find “one-size-fits-all” solutions to all institutions curtails innovation,” Mr. Nanda said.
‘Draft Bill ignores our proposals’
Speaking to The Hindu, Mr. Nanda said: “We had exhaustive consultations with the Government last October and we felt we had mutually agreed upon several issues. The next thing we hear is this draft, which runs counter to whatever we proposed.”
He also worried that the proposed Bill uses the word regulate once too often. “To my mind, this will impact the strategic and operational activities of the IIMs ranging from the fee structure to the maintenance of the buildings,” he said.
By this Mr. Nanda implied that the HRD Ministry would become the decision-maker with the academic board of the IIMs being reduced to a recommendatory body.
“I feel the Academic Faculty of IIMs should have the freedom to choose the academic board. Also, how to compensate the faculty should be left to the IIMs and not based on Government Rules,” Mr. Nanda said.
He clarified that the government must hold institutions accountable, but it should allow them complete operational autonomy. It is also learnt that all the IIMs are on board with the IIMA on the issue of erosion of autonomy.