IIM-A autonomy demand put in cold storage: director


Ahmedabad : The government has put the demand for more autonomy to the premier Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad (IIM-A) in cold storage, its director Bakul Dholakia alleged Wednesday.

Support TwoCircles

A paper underlining several recommendations of the institute was sent to the human resource development ministry two years back but it had not received any favourable reply, he said.

“After taking into account recommendations of the faculty council and the board of governors, we had sent a demand charter in March 2005. The recommendations range from the process of appointment of the director to pay scales of our faculties,” Dholakia said.

“We received a note from the ministry confirming the receipt of our demand in April 2005. The note said that they will take into account this demand but nothing has come from them so far.

“April 2007 has gone and we are in August, where is the response?” he asked.

His comments come on a day when the ministry got a serious blow from the judiciary over its reservation law.

The Supreme Court rejected the government’s plea to vacate the stay on the implementation of quota for other backward classes (OBCs) in institutes of higher learning.

Dholakia, who will retire in October, had Tuesday lashed out at the ministry for interfering in the functioning of the six IIMs – India’s world-renowned business schools.

He described the central government’s decision to invite applications for the post of directors in three IIMs at Ahmedabad, Bangalore and Kolkata as an infringement on their autonomy.

He said that in the 1970s and 1980s, the government played the role of a facilitator in educational institutions, particularly in institutions of higher learning.

“For the last one decade, you find more and more instances of government interference in the operations and autonomy of these institutions.

“Where is the freedom as far as educational institutions are concerned? About 60 to 70 percent members on the board of institutions like the IIMs are government appointees,” he had said in a workshop here.

The workshop focussed on themes like the Indian economic scenario, stock markets and the role of the Securities Exchange Board of India (Sebi), India’s political economy and the role of economic freedom.

Delivering the keynote address, eminent economist Y.K. Alagh emphasised the need to focus on meeting the challenge of poverty head on.

He said the focus on achieving high growth was appropriate as it meant more economic freedom. But there was also the danger of some key sections of society being left out of the growth process.

Jayanth Varma of IIMA, speaking on the stock market and the role of Sebi, said a free stock market was necessary as it was the best medium for providing capital for entrepreneurs.

He said a stock market operating freely acted as an effective channel in reducing inequalities in the economy. Since liberalisation, the Indian stock market was able to reduce the concentration of economic power, a feat that could not be performed earlier in spite of a plethora of laws and regulations enacted to regulate monopoly.

Speaking on the political economy, Paranjoy Guha Thakurta of the School of Convergence predicted that the era of coalition politics in India would continue as the Congress or the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) would be a force on its own only in eight states.

Coalitions would imply small parties would have more clout at the centre and larger parties would have to become more regional in their outlook.

In such a political scenario, there may not be any consensus on liberalisation, privatisation and globalisation, but there would be agreement on issues relating to social and physical infrastructures.

Though agriculture was in crisis due to the lack of reforms and the power sector was affected due to power thefts, the Indian economy could emerge as the third largest economy in the world after the US and China as it was already a trillion dollar economy following the appreciation of the rupee against the dollar, he said.

P.D. Kaushik of the Rajiv Gandhi Institute for Contemporary Studies said India’s growth story in recent years, which was best characterised by the mobile phone revolution, was the direct result of globalisation.

He, however, pointed out that Indian economy could continue its growth story if there was economic freedom based on the rule of law. He said the needs of the economy should be determined by the market and not the government.