New Delhi: The Narendra Modi government wants Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) to review and suggest ways of improving the country’s flagship schemes. But it wants the institutes to use its own money to research programmes such as Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojna, Unnat Bharat Abhiyan, Pradhanmantri Awas Yojna.
In his first meeting held with the directors of all IIMs, the HRD Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal, directed them to take up research and offer recommendations on the government schemes.
According to the minutes of the meeting, accessed by ThePrint, “All IIMs will do at least one research project from their funds evaluating one of the important Government schemes and make policy recommendations to the government.”
This apart, the IIMs are also supposed to “prepare a vision plan for joining the top 100 management institutions in the world”.
There are 20 IIMs in the country. Although the IIMs are autonomous institutions, they are still under the HRD ministry, which acts as an over-arching authority.
‘At present, IIMs study govt schemes voluntarily’
At present, the IIMs conduct research on government schemes completely on a voluntary basis. IIM-Amritsar, for example, had conducted a research on railway ticketing system and recommended ways to improve it.
With the new directive, all IIMs will now have to mandatorily study government schemes.
According to the provisions of The Indian Institute of Management Act, 2017, each IIM shall have the objective to carry out research, publication, consultancy and advisory work to advance new knowledge and innovation and to provide global leadership in management theory and practice.
“It’s the mandate of an IIM to carry out research and publication and contribute for the greater good of the public. Using the management skills of IIM faculty and students to better public policy will be one of the best utilisation of the available infrastructure and resources,” said a senior HRD ministry official.
‘New IIMs will face the challenge’
The IIMs have mixed opinions on the directive.
“While the older ones like Ahmedabad, Bangalore and Calcutta, which are already making surplus money, will be able to manage, the new IIMs will face a challenge. The new IIMs are still dependent on the government for funding. They will be the ones to feel the brunt the most,” said a professor at IIM-Bangalore.
IIM-Sirmaur in Himachal Pradesh, IIM-Jammu, IIM-Sambalpur in Odisha are some of the new institutes.
A senior official at IIM-Kozhikode in Kerala told ThePrint, “Whenever the government comes up with people-friendly ideas and demand support from education institutes, they have always been positive and so is the case with the IIMs. If the government wants us to study their schemes, we will do it and suggest improvements.”
A professor at IIM-Indore said: “If the study involves studying existing data already available with the ministries, it would not cost a lot of money, but if it requires field work and people need to travel, it can cost quite a lot of money to the institutes.”