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Fee division in IIM ranks

March 17: The human resource development ministry has claimed that IIM Lucknow has accepted the proposal to slash fees, signalling the first open fissure among the management schools.

In a resolution passed last week, IIM Lucknow, the ministry said, gave the go-ahead to implement the new fee structure — Rs 30,000 instead of the Rs 1.5 lakh that the B-schools have been charging annually — from the academic session beginning this year.

Sources in the Lucknow institute said the board members met last week and approved the proposal. “The consensus is that IIM Lucknow would not take recourse to a confrontationist policy,” said a source.

“The institute believes in complete autonomy and does not want government interference in matters of administration. But it has deemed fit not to oppose the fee-cut stand,” said a senior member of the board.

The first shot of dissent from among the IIMs has, therefore, come from HRD minister Murli Manohar Joshi’s home state — Uttar Pradesh. According to ministry sources, the three “younger” IIMs — in Lucknow, Kozhikode and Indore — have always been receptive to the fee-cut proposal, unlike the “older” and “bigger” ones — Ahmedabad, Calcutta and Bangalore.

IIM Lucknow director Dr Devi Singh said the board met but refused to divulge the exact nature of the resolution. Singh had gone on record earlier accepting the fee cut.

“There will be a difference of Rs 5 to 6 crore in the annual budget if the fee cut is implemented. We would ask for a Rs 10-crore allocation from the government. Once this is released, there should not be any crunch. So why should we worry'” he had said after the Supreme Court last month disposed of a petition challenging the slash following a government commitment not to interfere in the functioning of the B-schools.

The government claimed that the Lucknow IIM resolution on the eve of a hearing in the apex court has boosted its position. The court, on March 12, had given the Centre a week to clarify its stand on the autonomy issue.

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