The government's plan to set up four new Indian Institutes of Management may not materialise this year due to bottlenecks which include land acquisition problems and shortage of faculty.
The Ministry of Human Resource Development had stated its intention to establish seven new IIMs. Four of the premier institutes were to be set up in Tiruchirappalli (Tamil Nadu), Ranchi (Jharkhand), Raipur (Chhattishargh) and Rohtak (Haryana) in 2009-10. The remaining three would be set up in Jammu and Kashmir, Uttarakhand and Rajasthan in 2010-11. In the first phase, 140 students would be absorbed in the Post-Graduate Programme course. The number would be increased to 560 students per year once the remaining IIMs are set up.
The existing IIMs which are supposed to mentor the new ones, however, are doubtful if the new institutes can be set up this year. "Some of the IIMs may not start this year unless the director and faculty members are appointed. Though the names of the directors have already been announced, the process has been delayed. And not all institutes may start their classes because they have to first be operational, which will take a few more months," said a director of an IIM which is mentoring a new one. He, however, did not wish to be named.
When asked for his reaction, Union Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal agreed: "We have to make sure that there is capacity to spend. It takes time to set up institutes likes central universities, IIMs and IITs. Sometimes sites are not decided and then there is the issue of faculty needs. So, though classes may start and students may come, a full-fledged campus may take time."
Allocation of funds is another issue that is troubling the IIMs. Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee allocated Rs 400 crore in the 2010-11 Budget to set up new IITs -- 33 per cent higher than Rs 300 crore in 2009-10. The money set aside for new IIMs has been raised from Rs 3 crore (revised) in 2009-10 to Rs 25 crore in 2010-11. But, IIMs are not happy with the Budget.
"The allocation is insufficient, since the increase will be eaten by inflation and paying extra wages due to the increase post the Sixth Pay Commission. So, funds for refurbishing the infrastructure will shrink," rued Samir Barua, director of IIM-Ahmedabad.
For instance, at the upcoming IIM in Rohtak, the infrastructure has been established and is being furnished, but the hurdle of recruiting faculty and a director remains. IIM-A, which is supposed to mentor IIM Rajasthan (which is to start next year), has identified land but says it still has 15 more months to begin operations. "We will discuss these issues with the government," said a director.
Another IIM director, who did not wish to be named, noted that it took years for the existing institutes to be set up and it is taking a little more time for new IIMs to come up. "Demand is there but the problem is of supply of basic infrastructure and faculty," he said.
Incidentally, the outlay for the prestigious Indian Institutes of Technology has come down from Rs 1,665 crore in 2009-10 (revised estimates) to Rs 1,600 crore in 2010-11. The Budget for the IIMs, too, has been cut from Rs 120 crore to Rs 108 crore, according to the current budget estimates.