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IIM adds human face to old fee

New Delhi, June 14: The contours of a possible IIM fee model emerged today with the Indore institute deciding to charge the original Rs 1.5-lakh annual fee and offering aid to students whose family incomes fall below Rs 2 lakh a year.

The decision by the board of governors of IIM Indore is expected to set a trend that will bring the curtains down on the fee-cut controversy, which broke in February during the tenure of Murli Manohar Joshi as human resource development minister.

The ministry had asked the six IIMs to charge an annual fee of Rs 30,000 to ensure that poor students are not left out. But the IIMs had opposed the directive, seeing in it an attempt to rob them of their financial independence and eventually their autonomy.

The board of governors of the remaining five IIMs, scheduled to meet over the next 10 days, are expected to follow the Indore model and charge students the same fee in 2004-05 as in the last academic session. Like Indore, they will also have a provision to provide need-based financial assistance to students.

“The fees charged by IIM Indore in the year 2003-04 will be continued for the academic session commencing June 2004, with provision for need-based financial assistance,” board chairman B.. Kalyani and director S.P. Parashar announced in Indore after a meeting attended by 13 of the 18 board members.

The human resource development ministry, now under the Congress’ Arjun Singh, was represented by additional secretary Sudip Banerjee.

Singh had initiated talks with the IIMs as soon as he took over and was quick to declare that the institutes would be free to determine their fee.

However, the management schools were advised to explore options on reducing fees and offering need-based aid, and the ministry was careful not to rescind the February 5 fee-cut directive. The order is expected to be withdrawn after all the IIMs submit their decisions.

“IIM Indore will ensure that no postgraduate programme student faces any difficulty in pursuing education at IIM Indore for want of financial resources. The board has decided that any student whose family income is less than Rs 2 lakh per annum will be eligible for receiving scholarship amounting to full tuition fee waiver, subject to proof of income,” the institute said.

“Students whose annual gross family income was up to Rs 2 lakh will also be eligible to receive financial assistance beyond full tuition fee waiver in special deserving cases,” it added.

The annual gross income of parents, self and spouse, if any, will be taken into account for calculating the family income.

A ministry official suggested that proof of the Rs 2-lakh income would be valid only for the salaried class. For businessmen, the IIMs could go by the ownership of assets, rather than an income certificate.

“There will have to be parameters that would enable the IIMs to ensure that the rich do not benefit at the expense of the poor,” an official said.

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