The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Fee cut panel backs Joshi, points at IIM ‘reserves’

New Delhi, May 4: A committee set up by the human resource development ministry to assess the financial implications of the decision to slash fees at the Indian institutes of management has backed Murli Manohar Joshi’s stand.

The V.K. Shunglu Committee today submitted its report to the HRD ministry. It will be formally given to HRD minister Joshi on Thursday.

Authored by Shunglu, a former comptroller and auditor-general, the report justifies the proposal to reduce annual fees at the B-schools from Rs 1.5 lakh to Rs 30,000, saying the IIMs, particularly those at Ahmedabad, Calcutta and Bangalore, are more than equipped to survive the cut. The report stresses the cut will not affect the quality of education at the IIMs.

The case is now before the Supreme Court, which is also hearing arguments related to fears of possible interference in the autonomy of the institutions.

The Shunglu committee says Ahmedabad, Calcutta and Bangalore have reserves of about Rs 85 crore, which would help them tide over the fee cut.

The committee maintains that the IIMs can make do with government funds alone and says it is “intriguing” that they are raising the “bogey of interference in their autonomy” when they are sound financially.

Asked about the report, Ashis Bhattacharyya, dean, IIM Calcutta, said: “We can’t comment on the issue before seeing the report. But we won’t be surprised if the report finds nothing wrong with the government’s order. “The government normally circulates the draft report and seeks comments before formally accepting the recommendations,” he added. “We hope the process will be followed.”

But he expressed reservations on some queries the committee raised. “The committee was looking into the financial implications of the fee cut. But the government wanted us to furnish details on visiting faculties, number of classes taken by the faculty members and consultancy projects carried out by us. We couldn’t supply those data,” he said.

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