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Law Ministry junks MoE proposal on IIMs

The Law Ministry has shot down a proposal moved by the Ministry of Education (MoE), searching for powers to provoke an inquiry towards the Board of Governors (BoG) of an IIM if it’s ostensibly discovered to be appearing in contravention of the IIM Act.

As first reported by The Indian Express on December 6, the MoE had shared a draft executive order with the Law Ministry that, if permitted by the latter, wouldn’t solely have empowered the federal government to provoke an inquiry towards an IIM BoG but in addition dismiss the Board.

The MoE proposed the stated order beneath Section 38 of the IIM Act, which permits the federal government to take away teething difficulties in implementing the brand new regulation inside three years of its enactment.

In a gathering held final month, the Law Ministry is realized to have objected to the MoE’s proposal on the bottom that it’s inconsistent with the provisions of the IIM Act, which provides unprecedented autonomy to the 20 enterprise colleges, and that any provision allowing the federal government to take punitive motion towards the institute can solely be launched by way of an modification within the regulation.

The IIM Act, which got here into impact on January 31, 2018, provides sweeping powers to all 20 enterprise colleges, together with appointment of administrators, chairpersons and Board members. Earlier, as an illustration, the director was appointed by the Board however with the prior approval of the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) headed by the Prime Minister.


Education Ministry’s powers weakened

The IIM Act permits the federal government to take away any teething issues by means of an govt order inside three years of its enactment – a deadline that expired on January 31. With the Law Ministry junking the Ministry of Education’s draft govt order late final month, the MoE now can not do a lot when it comes to giving itself extra powers to behave towards the IIMs—until it decides to amend the IIM Act.

The MoE’s proposal got here amid the present standoff between the Government and IIMs over the one-year MBA diploma.

In July 2020, the MoE had red-flagged the one-year govt MBA diploma saying that it’s “not in accordance with the UGC Regulations”, which mandate {that a} Master’s diploma must be of two years, not one.

The IIMs, within the authorities’s view, violated that provision. In a letter, the enterprise colleges have been directed to “act in conformity with the UGC Act 1956”.

Some of the IIMs had transformed their one-year diploma for working professionals into a level programme after the IIM Act, 2017, allowed degree-granting powers to the 20 enterprise colleges. Out of the 20, IIMs in Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Kolkata, Indore, Kozhikode, Lucknow and Udaipur provide the one-year diploma for executives.

However, the IIMs defended the one-year diploma to the federal government and proceed to run the programme.

The MoE’s transfer was additionally vital on condition that there was a robust distinction of opinion inside the authorities – over autonomy and accountability — on the time of the drafting of the IIM Act.

In 2015, whereas the MoE had advocated retaining authorities management within the identify of guaranteeing monetary and administrative propriety, the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) had wished a hands-off strategy. The draft regulation went forwards and backwards for nearly a yr between October 2015 and September 2016, throughout which the MoE, then beneath Smriti Irani, caught to its weapons, however yielded after Prakash Javadekar took over in July 2016.

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