Union Govt Notifies Norms Giving Itself Absolute Control on IIM Boards, Appointment of Directors

The President of India will now be the Visitor of each IIM, through whom the government will have the final say in appointment of the boards' chairperson and director.

New Delhi: In a move that significantly undermines the autonomy of the various Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs), the Union government will now control the appointment of the board of governors and directors in the institutes.

According to the new norms notified by the government on November 10, the President of India will be the Visitor of each IIM, through whom the government will have the final say in the appointment of the chairperson of the board and the director of the institutes.

The Indian Institutes of Management (IIM) (Amendment) Bill 2023 – meant to amend the 2017 IIM Act – was cleared by the Lok Sabha on August 4.

Under the newly notified norms, the government has also changed the eligibility criteria for IIM directors, the New Indian Express reported. The new norms make a first class degree in in both Bachelor’s and Master’s mandatory along with a PhD or an equivalent qualification from a reputed institute

This change has come in effect in the wake of controversy surrounding the reappointment of Dheeraj Sharma as IIM-Rohtak’s director.

Sharma had misrepresented his academic credentials during his initial appointment, which occurred before the enactment of the IIM Act. He had a second class Bachelor’s degree, instead of a first class, which was a mandatory eligibility requirement for the job as per the government’s advertisement.

While the education ministry found out about Sharma’s deceptive actions, it was unable to prevent his re-appointment for a second term last year. This was because, at the time of his re-appointment, the IIM Rohtak Board had the absolute power under the IIM Act to choose the director and it had not stipulated a first-class Bachelor’s and Master’s degree as a mandatory criterion, an Indian Express report said.

Under the new rules, the president will now have the powers to appoint and remove directors and dissolve the boards, if required.

In the revised process, the search and selection committee will submit a roster of three candidates under consideration for the directorial position to the Visitor. If the Visitor is not satisfied with the proposed names, they can seek fresh recommendations from the same committee or constitute a fresh search-cum-selection committee for the purpose, the notification issued by the Union government said.

IIM’s had resisted the provision of a Visitor in 2015 when the draft of the IIM Act was released. They had maintained that the move would undermine their autonomy.