Intro : Time has come to revamp the role and responsibility of Board of Governors of Educational Institutes on the lines of Independent Directors.
In Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) Row, Governing Council was dragged in by the students. But in a surprising twist, Board of Governors of IIM’s have dragged them in a totally unnecessary controversy. Earlier Anil Kakodkar, Chairman of Board of Governors, IIT Bombay had dragged himself in a controversy.
AM Naik, Chairman of IIM-Ahmedabad has been quoted as saying “The new bill gives sweeping powers to the government, which makes the institution only an operational centre while all the major directions and approvals are allowed only from the Centre. This would be detrimental to the management institutes in India – not only for IIM-A, but for other IIMs as well. The current bill if passed would take away the autonomy of the institution.”
Firstly, a draft bill by the government for suggestions by the IIM’s is made into a public tamasha by the Directors and Board Members of few IIM’s. Government has only asked for suggestions on the draft bill. Not only IIM Board, its Director but anyone can give suggestion on mygov.in regarding the bill. It is surprising that before talking to the government some have of Board of Governor; who run huge business empires, in all their wisdom has gone to press.
Left and Congress are master at Ideological control of an Institute through Board of Governors and Directors. Following are few examples of the same:
Secondly, not all IIM’s are opposing the draft bill as being claimed. As per Times of India, IIM-Raipur Director BS Sahay fully supported the bill. “Without an Act of Parliament, we will not be able to grant degrees and conduct PhD programmes”. He also argued, “What is wrong in being accountable? If we spend public money, we better be answerable.” He said, he had faced no interference from the HRD ministry.
The Telegraph reported “IIM grads could soon find it easier to pursue higher studies abroad if Parliament clears a draft bill that allows the premier B-schools to offer master’s and PhD programmes for the first time since their inception in the 1960s.”
It is surprising that Directors and Board of Governors are opposing initiatives which will be good for students and make institute accountable. Opposition to the much needed changes for betterment compels one to look at things from political perspective.
One wonders how many people remember or protested, when Samir Barua, son in law of CPI strongman AB Bardhan; was made director of IIM-A in 2007. UPA-I came to power in 2004, with the support from Left parties. Samir Barua himself went on to say “Destiny made me IIM-A Director” to Times of India.
Faculty members revolted and said ‘They do not want a second term for the incumbent director, Samir Barua whose first term ended in 2012. The board had offered him a three-month extension, hoping to finalise his successor in the interim. But a third of the faculty members wrote to AM Naik, chairman of the Board of Governors, asking him to advise “the present director to hand over charge to the dean (faculty) or the senior-most full professor” if a new director does not take charge within three months.
In fact Left and Congress, still control the premium institutes of India example Central Government funded institute NITIE at Powai, Mumbai still has Rajendra Prasad Singh, MLA, General Secretary, Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC) and Gurudas Das Gupta, MP General Secretary, All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC) in the board of Governors, as per the institute website www.nitie.edu
But with the proposed new bill, it will be difficult to fully control the appointment of Director and Chairpersons by political parties. “The bill introduces a provision under which the appointment of directors and chairpersons will have to be approved by the Visitor – the President of India – not the appointments committee of the cabinet headed by the Prime Minister”.
Understandably, both Samir Barua and AM Naik are among those who are protesting against the bill. Telegraph reports: Samir Barua, former director, IIM Ahmedabad, said “if the concern was about the course label, the HRD ministry could have brought a bill exclusively to allow the B-schools to grant degrees with no other change in administrative structure”.
Economic Times in 2012 August reported: “Simmering differences between the seven new IIMs and six older, more established ones are threatening to erupt into a full-blown conflict. New IIMs are peeved that their older counterparts are not treating them as equals in resource and faculty sharing, and in the Common Admission Test (CAT) process and revenues.” “Newer IIMs allege that IIM-A is not too keen to share faculty, as such loss of exclusivity will make IIM-A lose its competitive edge, a senior IIM official says on condition of anonymity. Refuting this, IIM-A Director Samir Barua argues that all IIMs are facing faculty shortage. “After the implementation of the OBC quota, it is difficult to share existing faculty with the new IIMs,” he says.
AM Naik was the Chairman of Board of Governors of IIM-A in 2012 when the controversy between new and old IIM’s broke out in open. Recently A M Naik has been reappointed as the chairman of Board of Governors at Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad and IIM-A Society. With his reappointment for three years, starting from March 29, (2015) the L&T chief has become the second person to get a second term.
AM Naik has been Chairman of L&T since 2003. He could be looking for a similar long innings at IIM-A; which can be jeopardised by new bill. This could be the only but wrong reason for him to get upset. He being at the helm only benefits IIM-A and the nation in turn.
Board of Governors duplicity is not surprising. Even self respecting, chairman of the Board of Governors of IIT-Bombay, Anil Kakodkar who accused the Minister of Human Resource Development (HRD) of taking Directors’ recruitment casually, hasn’t said a single word over celebration of Kiss of Love by faculty and students at IIT, Mumbai.
Above mentioned three articles have fairly established the fact that these government funded institutes from tax payers money are becoming ground for anti-India and anti-Hindu activities. Faculties with low moral are misguiding students. These activities either don’t come to notice of Board of Governors or are being ignored.
The New Companies Act, 2013 has made the Board of Directors, including the Independent Directors responsible for the prevention and detection of fraud in the organisation though they only play a supervisory role from very far. Similarly, Board of Governors should also be made responsible for anti-India/anti-Hindu activities being carried out in the institutes. Every citizen of India, especially the tax payer is a stake holder in these institutes. The Director and the Board should be answerable to stakeholders. The ethics that are applicable to the Board of Directors in corporate should also be applicable to the board in these institutes. Otherwise it will be very difficult to put these institutes, who are creators of India’s future, on the correct path.
Sandeep Singh (The writer is a founder www.swastik.net.in)
(July 19, 2015 Page : 52-53)