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IIMC sets Thursday date

Calcutta, April 3: Y.C. Deveshwar, chairman of the Indian Institute of Management Calcutta board, says the business school will decide on the fee slash issue by Thursday.

He said this today after a meeting of the board of governors.

“At the meeting on March 26, the board unanimously gave me the responsibility to frame the resolution. I haven’t framed the resolution as yet. I will do it before April 8,” said Deveshwar. He added he would do so at the “right time” and said the delay was not an attempt at “buying time”.

But the ITC chairman did not give any hint if the institute will toe human resource development minister Murli Manohar Joshi’s line.

The HRD minister wants annual fees at the IIMs to be reduced from Rs 1.5 lakh to Rs 30,000 — a move the institutes are opposed to. The issue has taken a legal turn, with the Supreme Court to hear a public interest litigation on the fee cut and its impact on autonomy on Thursday.

Deveshwar said the fee cut did not come up for discussion at today’s meeting as the members were busy approving the diplomas awarded to successful students at today’s convocation. Azim Premji, chairman, Wipro Ltd, delivered the convocation address.

State government representatives on the board, who were not present at last week’s stormy meeting, expressed disappointment at today’s hour-long encounter over the recent turn of events. They asked about the process followed in appointing board members and ordering a fee cut without a proper consultative approach.

“Their views were recorded and I think the matter has to be sorted out between the state and the central government,” Deveshwar said.

But neither of the central government representatives — V.S. Pandey, joint secretary, HRD ministry, and the ministry’s financial adviser V.K. Pipersania — attended today’s meeting. For many on the Joka campus, their absence was a positive development.

“They tried their best to force the fee cut decision on us. Despite a majority, they failed to push the resolution accepting a slash. Today they were not here and not even in Ahmedabad, where the board decided to maintain a status quo on the issue. These developments are good for us,” an IIM source said.

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