Acting on the PMO’s advice, Minister of Human Resource Development Prakash Javadekar has withdrawn his ministry from the process of appointing the chairman of the Board of Governors (BoG) at IIMs. This is an 180-degree turn from the stand of his predecessor Smriti Irani who insisted on a government role and to make her point absolutely clear on the issue, she went to the extent of rejecting a panel of names of corporate stalwarts recommended by IIM-Ahmedabad for the chairman’s post.
In May, Irani had rejected a list of names consisting of Chairman of Board of Directors of Infosys R Seshasayee, Chairman of HDFC Deepak Parekh, and Hero MotoCorp CMD Pawan Munjal for appointment as a new BoG chairman after A M Naik, Group Executive Chairman of Larsen & Toubro Limited, resigned on December 31, 2015, two years before his term was to end. No reason was given for the rejection and the decision was seen as another attack on the autonomy of the premier B-schools.
Departing from Irani’s stand, Javadekar has accepted the PMO’s suggestion to empower the IIMs, under the IIM Bill, to appoint their own chairmen. The draft law, which incorporates significant changes to ensure the autonomy of the IIMs, is said to have been dispatched for Cabinet approval.