IIM Bill – The Viewpoint Of An IIM Student

“Yeah! Now I’ll be getting an MBA degree!” This was my sigh of excitement along with hundreds of other students studying in IIM when they heard that IIM Bill has been passed by the Lok Sabha. This definitely is a special moment for all of us, as finally, the Indian  Institute of Managements (IIMs) have now joined the league of “Institute of National Importance” just as the IITs and AIIMS. This bill will now give the 20 prestigious B-schools more autonomy, and most importantly will allow them to grant degrees to students.

IIMs were established as separate bodies registered under the Societies Act. Since Societies are not authorized to award degrees, students like me were admitted to their Master’s program and given a postgraduate diploma in management or PDGM. Similarly, those pursuing doctoral studies were awarded the title of a ‘Fellow’ at the end of their research. Although the PG diploma and ‘Fellow’ title are recognised by the Association of Indian Universities and the HRD Ministry to being equivalent to an MBA and a Ph.D degree, respectively, this equivalence is not universally accepted. Hence there was always a soft sigh at the bottom of our hearts that even after putting in so many efforts, the cake of our recognition lacked the icing.

Celebrations are in store for the IIM executives’ fraternity too: 

It’s not only the students who have been having these merry moments, this bill has even increased the autonomy of the IIMs. As per the provisions of the new Bill, the Board of Governors now will be the executive body of each IIM comprising 19 members and 17 of them will be nominated members from a pool of eminent persons, faculty members and alumni, while the rest two other members will be government nominees from the Union and State governments.

Till now the appointments at IIMs happened through Appointments Cabinet Committee (ACC) chaired by the Prime Minister but once this bill comes into force, the newly constituted Board will have the powers to appoint its own chairperson and the director of the institution. A search committee will then recommend the names for the post of Director, who will be eligible for variable pay, to be determined by the board.

The love for five-year plans in India

India and five-year plans have started to sound like synonyms. Each and every agency in India has to follow the trend of speculating their five-year plans. So why should IIM be left behind in this? Hence from now on, there will be a regular review of the performance of the IIMs by independent agencies. The results will be put up in the public domain and the review will take into account the long-term strategy and five-year plans of the IIMs. Sounds interesting till now but don’t know how much this would have an impact on the long run.

Also, the annual report of the IIMs will be placed in Parliament and Comptroller and Auditor General will audit their accounts. The report will include steps taken by the Institute to fulfil its objects and an outcome-based assessment (OBE) of the research being undertaken the institutes. “OBE”, this word has seriously gained too much attention in the education society of our nation!

What about reservations in faculty recruitment for the IIMs?

Though Mr. Prakash Javadekar has clarified that the “law of the land will apply”, the Bill only has a vague enabling provision on faculty reservation. So while the new law implicitly states that IIMs will have to provide reservation for SC/ST and OBC students, it has a clause which only says that IIMs shall try to recruit teachers from weaker sections of society.

The institutes have reacted in the typical way a management institute should on this issue, by saying “it depends”. They have remarked that they will set aside a chunk of faculty positions for SC/ST and OBC candidates only once the government issues directions in writing. Smart and witty people!

A sigh of discontentment by other b-schools

Over the years, the brand and reputation of IIMs have lent a considerable amount of credibility to a Postgraduate Program in Management. However, now the IIMs also offering a degree of MBA has created a fear among other B-schools offering PGDM – like XLRI Jamshedpur, SPJIMR Mumbai –  that their own PG diplomas will suffer in market value and put them at a distinct disadvantage.

The Education Promotion Society of India (EPSI) reacting strongly to this had written to the HRD Ministry on behalf of private management schools, requesting the government to allow PGDM institutions to also offer MBA degrees, but since a private educational institution can award degrees only if it becomes either a state university or a deemed university or gets affiliated to a state university, the government has asked them to explore these alternative options. Here is where I feel that students like me, studying in IIM would start getting an edge over others.

Even though everyone has been giving out their views on the passing of the Bill, but the exact pros – cons will be concluded only after a few months. Till then, just wait and observe.

Good Luck, Best Wishes!