The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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IIM Bangalore follows Calcutta lead

Bangalore, March 27: After today’s board meeting of IIM Bangalore, it appears the institute is biding time like its Calcutta counterpart for the other top B-school, Ahmedabad, to take the initiative against the government’s move to slash fees.

Sources said the three premier management institutes might adopt a united stand before the next hearing in the Supreme Court, scheduled for April 8.

Yesterday, the board of IIM Calcutta had left it to the institute’s chairman, Y.C. Deveshwar, to prepare a response after a meeting ended inconclusively. Sources indicated the board will discuss the resolution when it meets again on April 3, the day the board of IIM Ahmedabad is scheduled to meet.

“Majority of the board members were of the view that the government had the right to tinker with the fees. If the chairman decides to accept that view and agrees on a fee cut in his resolution, the resolution will have to be placed before the board,” said an IIM Calcutta board member.

Some members of the faculty and board of IIM Bangalore confirmed that a common stand was on the cards though chairman S.M. Datta denied any “concerted, collected view” among these schools as their constitution entailed independent decisions.

At the meeting today, the board authorised Datta to draft a resolution that “adequately conveys the views expressed by the members”. The board would meet again if the members feel the need to discuss the resolution, Datta told reporters after a three-hour meeting at the IIM campus on the outskirts of Bangalore.

“The board was concerned with the deficit of Rs 5 crore per annum that will arise as a result of the fee cut with the present intake of 216 students. We intend to increase the number to 260 students this year, but then the deficit must be worked afresh because we have to enhance the strength of the faculty (84 teaching staff are on the institute’s rolls now). We have a corpus of Rs 60 crore (including donations), but that amount is peanuts,” he said.

The board, however, was not in favour of a legal course or confrontation with the ministry. Instead, it has agreed to abide by the Supreme Court’s decision.

Interestingly, the government nominees who had skipped meetings of the board on three previous occasions, turned up for the meeting. Among them, V.S. Pandey, joint secretary in the human resource development ministry, clarified that the government had no intention of infringing on the autonomy of the institutes and that the proposed fee structure ought not to be misconstrued.

Pandey and the other government nominees said the step was taken in the light of a judgment by the apex court to “harmonise the fee structure in autonomous educational institutions”.

Datta said the B-schools were right in saying that their autonomy was being curtailed. “Over the last couple of years, some authority delegated to the board has been cut and there has been very radical departures from procedures. This has given rise to the feeling that our autonomy might be affected,” he added.

According to board member Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, chairperson of Biocon India Ltd, the meeting was “cordial with every member placing view points without any prejudice”.

“We are confident that Mr Datta will write out the resolution exactly as we placed our views at the meeting,” Shaw said.

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