Parliament on Tuesday passed a bill that will enable the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) to award MBA and Ph.D. degrees, with the Rajya Sabha’s nod to the legislation.The Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Bill 2017, passed in Lok Sabha in July, envisages greater autonomy to the IIMs than other institutions of higher education such as the Indian Institutes of Technology and the All India Institute of Management Sciences.

“The bill to declare certain institutes of management to be institutions of national importance with a view to empower these institutions to attain standard of global excellence in management, management research and allied area of knowledge,” Human Resource Development Minister Prakash Javadekar said in Rajya Sabha while presenting the bill.He said that management institutes are handicapped because they have power to grant diploma certificates and the power to grant degrees to management students is important aspect of the bill.

Being registered under the Societies Act, the IIMs earlier were only allowed to award Postgraduate Diplomas (equivalent to an MBA) and fellowship programmes (equivalent to a Ph. D) in management, but with the conferring of status of ‘Institutions of National Importance’ through the bill, they will be able to award degrees now.

According to the Indian Institutes of Management Bill 2017, the board of governors will be the executive body of each IIM, comprising up to 19 members and will nominate 17 board members including eminent persons, faculty members and alumni. The remaining two members will be nominees from the central and state governments, respectively.

The academic council of each IIM will determine the academic content, criteria and process for admission to courses and guidelines for conduct of examinations.The Bill will also grant more autonomy and flexibility to the institutes in constitution of their boards and will reduce government interference. Unlike earlier when it was supposed to have two members from the Central government, there will be only one such now.

A board member cannot be chosen for more than two consecutive terms now, unlike an indefinite number of terms earlier.According to the new Bill, the board will have the freedom to select its Chairperson, who was earlier selected by the government from a panel of names recommended by the board. The Chairperson, like other members, also cannot be selected for more than two consecutive terms.

The Director of the institute can now be selected by the board through a ‘search and selection’ committee, unlike before when the Central government would do so by picking a name from a panel recommended by the board.As per the new Bill, neither the Director nor any other board member can be removed by the government.