Lok Sabha Passes Indian Institutes of Management (Amendment) Bill, 2023
Today, on August 4th, the Lok Sabha successfully passed the Indian Institutes of Management (Amendment) Bill, 2023. This legislative amendment places the responsibility for overseeing the management of these institutes under the authority of the President of India. Initially introduced on July 28th, the bill navigated its way through the Lok Sabha despite disruptions caused by opposition members, who were focused on addressing the violence in Manipur.
The Indian Institutes of Management (Amendment) Bill, 2023, which aims to modify the existing IIM Act of 2017, designates the President as the visitor to the IIMs. This role grants the President the power to conduct audits of their operations, initiate investigations, and make appointments or removals of directors. The bill explicitly outlines that the Visitor is authorized to appoint individuals or groups to assess an institute's progress, conduct inquiries into its affairs, and subsequently provide reports in accordance with the Visitor's directives. In cases where an institute deviates from the stipulated provisions and objectives of the Act, the board also holds the authority to recommend an appropriate inquiry to the Visitor.
The IIM Act, which came into effect in January 2018, was designed to enhance the autonomy of prominent B-schools. Each IIM's board of governors consists of 19 members, including a lone representative from both the central and state governments. The remaining 17 members are nominated by the board and are drawn from distinguished personalities, faculty members, and alumni. Furthermore, the board is responsible for appointing search panels dedicated to selecting new directors and chairpersons. Their recommendations are subsequently acted upon by the board following a mutual agreement.
Under the provisions of the 2023 amendment Bill, the process for appointing directors will now include a nominee from the Visitor on the search-cum-selection panel. Addressing concerns about governmental interference with the autonomy of IIMs, Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan emphasized the government's commitment to preserving their independence during a debate on the Bill. It is worth noting that while the President assumes management accountability for the institutes, the academic accountability will continue to rest within the purview of the institutes themselves, as clarified by the minister.