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IIM brass to meet on autonomy

August 12, 2004 11:55 IST

The directors of all six Indian Institutes of Management will meet at a two-day conference in IIM-Lucknow on Thursday and Friday to discuss various issues, including exploration of the possibility of revising the Memorandum of Association of the institutes to safeguard in future from any intervention from the government, in case a change of guard happens in the North Block.

The directors are also expected to discuss framing bye-laws in the existing memoranda of all IIMs, thus giving absolute power to the society of each institute and board of governors to finally come to a decision on the fee structure.

IIMs: Triumphs & Tribulations

All the six directors of IIMs will participate in the two-day meet, which gains significance since it is the first meeting after Arjun Singh, the new minister of human resources development, put the fee-cut issue to bed.

However, the IIMs still have a second thought. They fear the return of the Bharatiya Janta Party-led government in the Centre that can botch up IIMs' autonomy in the future.

However, The directors of the IIMs remained tightlipped when asked whether a change in the existing MoAs are on the cards.

The Lucknow meet would bring to the fore the means to bring revision, sources close to IIM-Ahmedabad said.

Director of IIM-Calcutta, Shekhar Choudhury, when contacted told Business Standard on Wednesday, "The meeting will discuss various agendas and we may also relook on the components which we consider while deciding fees. At this moment, nothing much can be divulged on the agendas of the meeting."

Bakul Dholakia, director of IIM-A, while saying that components of fee structure may be one of the topics to be talked in the meeting, denied to comment when asked whether IIMs would also go for revising its MoAs to protect themselves.

Devi Singh, host of the meet and director of IIM-L could not be reached while directors of IIM-B, Prakash Apte, IIM-I, S K Parashar and IIM-K, Krisha Kumar were not available for comments.

"To immune from any such vulnerable attack on the Institutes' autonomy in future, if a BJP government come back to power and Joshi takes over MHRD, the IIMs have to work it out in future and the process may start from this two-day long meet.

"Though to change the MoA, a meeting of the Society is most necessary, but once the directors agree on the possible changes in MoA, the matter could be tabled in respective Society meetings," said a source.

MoAs of the IIMs have enough space for central government intervention and using those clauses, the earlier government created furore in various issues including the fee-cut issue.

"Another important factor may be discussed in the meeting, which is framing bye-laws following Article 3(h) of MoA as though this Article in the MoA, requires IIMs to frame bye-laws under the Rules of the Society for deciding fees, none of the IIMs' Societies have any such byelaw which is pointed out by Joshi and later, V K Shunglu, former CAG and responsible for the one-man inquiry committee looking into the financials of the IIMs.

"According to Article 3(h) of MoA of IIMA, "to fix and demand fees and other charges as may be laid down in the Bye-laws made under the Rules of Society," but the Bye-law was never been framed.

IIMs will definitely try to plug all the loopholes before a change of guard in Delhi. IIMs are also keen to revise a certain Clause in the MoA, which hints that central government may and can, require the fixation of particular fees.
Joydeep Ray in Ahmedabad