The proposed IIM bill proposes setting up of an apex body that will act as a coordinating avenue for all IIMs similar to the IIT council. IIMs will be able to grant degrees rather than diplomas and can also confer academic distinctions or titles. Another provision of the Bill states that the institutions will have to undergo a periodic review every five years, and they would be evaluated on innovation, entrepreneurship, research, impact on trade and society, quality of teaching and governance, achieving a global standing, and achieving social equality through education and innovation.
The benefits of this bill are manifold. First and foremost, it can facilitate alliance among the IIMs (earlier attempts to do so outside the formal system have not yielded favorable results). The council can facilitate research and sharing of resources between students and faculty. It will be specifically beneficial to newer IIMs as they can learn a lot from possible collaborations and the ability to award degrees will go a long way in international recognition to their programs. Also, periodic reviews will make IIMs accountable and be a learning opportunity for the institutes.
IIMs are divided on their views on the proposed bill with more established ones (specially IIM A) opposing it as they will it will endanger their autonomy and newer ones supporting it expecting it to fast track their growth and bring international acceptance. Established IIMs also believe that it will hinder their on-going initiatives. For example, IIM A is trying to bring in faculties from all over the world and believe that the proposed legislation will slowdown such initiatives.
I believe government should go ahead with bill but it should make sure that institutes are autonomous as each of the 13 business schools are in different stages of their growth. Through this initiative government should ensure that new IIMs progress rapidly but at the same time making sure that individual IIMs maintain their distinctive characteristics and positioning.