The Prime Minister’s Office and the HRD Ministry don’t seem to agree on the degree of autonomy that should be granted to the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs).
Ritika Chopra THE PRIME Minister’s Office (PMO) and the HRD Ministry don’t seem to agree on the degree of autonomy that should be granted to the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs).
The PMO had recently recommended six changes to the revised IIM Bill — which aims to empower the premier B-schools to award degrees instead of diplomas — to dilute the scope of government control over the institutes. The HRD Ministry is willing to adopt only three.
The changes suggested by the PMO are:
* The Bill states the President, in his capacity as the ‘Visitor’ of all the IIMs, can review the work of any IIM. PMO thinks this should only be done on the recommendation of the Board of Governors (BoG) of the institute.
* The Bill provides for three alumni members on the BoG of each IIM. PMO has suggested five.
* The Bill says the BoG will have two nominees of the central government. PMO has recommended one nominee.
* The draft law provides for BoG to have four eminent persons, of which at least one shall be a woman. PMO wants at least three women members on the BoG.
* The proposed law says the member-secretary of the coordination forum (coordinating body) of the IIMs should be an officer not below the rank of joint secretary. PMO has suggested an IIM director should be the member-secretary.
* According to the Bill, the IIMs will have to intimate the government about any changes in the tuition fee. PMO has said the institute does not need to inform the government.
The HRD Ministry, sources said, has agreed to incorporate the last three suggestions. It is not in favour of altering the provision on an inquiry by the President into the working of an IIM on the ground that the IITs are also governed by a similar clause under the IIT Act.
The HRD Ministry, sources added, was also not convinced about changing the number of government nominees and alumni members on the BoG. The PMO has been informed of the ministry’s reservations about these changes.
The government listed the IIM Bill for introduction in the Budget Session of Parliament after it redrafted the law to modify clauses that the IIMs alleged would curtail their autonomy. The ministry, for instance, modified Section 3 (k) of the Bill, which stated that any regulation made by the BoG would have to be approved by the government. The changed provision now gives the BoG the final say.
The re-drafted Bill was circulated among different ministries for comments in December last year. But with the PMO requesting further changes in the revised draft and the HRD Ministry disagreeing with some of the suggestions, the Bill’s introduction in the Budget Session seems unlikely. Sources said PMO and HRD officials could hold a meeting to arrive at a consensus.
HRD Ministry spokesperson Ghanshyam Goel declined to comment on the matter.
INDIAN EXPRESS, MAR 10, 2016
JNU registrar completes 62, teachers’ body ‘derecognises’ him
The JNUTA said according to the statutes of the university, which prohibit anyone from continuing after the age of 62, Zutshi could no longer continue on his post.
The Jawaharlal Nehru University Teachers’ Association (JNUTA) Wednesday unanimously passed a motion ‘derecognising’ Registrar Bupinder Zutshi, has “completed 62 years”. The JNUTA said according to the statutes of the university, which prohibit anyone from continuing after the age of 62, Zutshi could no longer continue on his post.
The JNUTA also passed a motion expressing no confidence in a high-level inquiry committee set up by the university to look into the controversy following the February 9 event on the campus, where anti-national slogans were allegedly raised.
“JNUTA has decided to de-recognise the officiating Registrar from today as he completed 62 years today, which is the actual age of retirement for any regular Registrar in the university as per the statutes,” said JNUTA secretary Bikramaditya Choudhary. He also read the letter which the JNUTA wrote to the vice chancellor.
“To the surprise of everyone, he (Zutshi) purposefully leaked his deposition to the inquiry committee before media. The official, who is supposed to be the repository of the records of the university, violates the basic requirement and acts against the university. His act is not only morally untenable but also legally questionable,” read Choudhary.
Professor Ranjani Mazumdar read the motion, which was passed unanimously “This house declares that it ceases to recognise the acting registrar as an officer of the JNU. The house demands that the VC do the same and remove Professor Zutshi from that position and also withdraw the order appointing him as nodal officer of the university.”
Associate Professor Jaivir Singh also read a motion on the inquiry committee. “What has gone on since February 11 in the name of the inquiry committee is nothing less than a travesty is beyond doubt. Neither an honest uncovering of the truth, nor the upholding of the principles of justice can be outcomes of that process…”
JNUTA president Ajay Patnaik also informed students about students Umar Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya, who were arrested on sedition charges following the February 9 event.
“Umar and Anirban are fine. They send you their thanks for the support the teachers and students have demonstrated. They are in fine health and fine frame of mind. They’ve gone through, not physical torture, but a lot of verbal abuse by the Special Cell,” he said.
Meanwhile, the JNUSU has decided to take out a march to Parliament on March 15 demanding the release of Umar and Anirban. They will also hold a protest on March 11 when the committee submits its report.
Another nationalism class in JNU Economist and professor emeritus of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) Prabhat Patnaik on Wednesday said that treating nationalism as a homogenous category was “wrong”. The nationalism adopted by third world countries like India was “inclusive nationalism”, he said.
He was delivering the 16th nationalism lecture on “What it means to be national” at the university’s administrative block.
Patnaik also talked about how the discourse of nationalism could be shifted. “Any thinking must be associated with raising questions… in any society, in any given time, there will be people holding different kinds of views. If those views are suppressed on grounds of being anti-national, then you’re ipso facto suppressing thinking,” he said.
Complaint against Kanhaiya, JNU prof A complaint has been filed in Vasant Vihar police station against JNUSU president Kanhaiya Kumar over remarks allegedly made by him during an event on Tuesday. The complaint, lodged by Shivam Chhabra of Maurya Enclave and Pareekshit Dagar of South Ex – Part II, alleged that Kumar and JNU professor Nivedita Menon had made “anti-national” statements. “We have received the complaint… no FIR has been registered yet. We are looking into the matter,” said a police official.
STATESMAN, MAR 9, 2016
Government sets off to bring quality education A group of secretaries constituted by the government has recommended launching an initiative to be jointly undertaken by the Centre and states for delivering afresh standards for assessment of schools and improving quality of teachers.
Senior officials of the HRD Ministry gave a presentation regarding Unique National Initiative for Quality Universal Education (UNIQUE) to HRD minister Smriti Irani and briefed her about its aspects which aim to ensure that Centre and states work in sync to produce better outcomes, Sources said.
It is learnt that it has been proposed that the Centre would provide outcome based funding to states for this umbrella scheme. It has suggested creating a digital database of schools.
States can conduct regular Learning Achievement Surveys and work on schemes to rate schools while ensuring bio-metric attendance of teachers and teachers, under the scheme.
"The Government had constituted groups of secretaries to look into various sectors and suggest innovations. The HRD minister went through the presentations among which the UNIQUE initiative was also discussed. Further deliberations will take place at the highest levels," an official source said.
STATESMAN, MAR 9, 2016
The state will soon have five new medical colleges. This would lead to an increase in 500 MBBS seats with each medical college having an intake capacity of 100 MBBS seats.
The colleges would come up in Rampurhat in Birbhum, Cooch behar, Diamond harbour in South 24-Parganas, Purulia and Raiganj in North Dinajpur. An approval in this regard was given under a Centrally sponsored scheme - Establishment of new medical colleges attached with existing district or referral hospitals.
The Centre has given approval for a total of 58 new medical colleges across the country, of which five are in Bengal. The districts that have been selected for this do not possess any medical college. The responsibility of setting up the colleges has been left to the respective state governments and the fund sharing between the Centre and state government is in the ratio of 60:40. The total cost of establishment of a medical college is Rs.189 crore.
The new medical colleges would be attached to the existing district or referral hospitals with the distance between the district or referral hospital and the medical college being within 10 km. At present, there are nine medical colleges with a total seat capacity of 1,900.
STATESMAN, MAR 8, 2016
Our bleeding banks cry out for a fix
Pravesh Jain Our nationalized banks are bleeding. The condition is so critical that metaphorically they can be said to be in the ICU. If urgent steps are not taken they will soon be on ventilators fighting their last battle. The vision that led to bank nationalization so that banks became accessible to the poor and helped transform the nation’s economy is fast falling apart. But if these banks fall sick and gasp for breath what will happen to the aspirations of a billion plus nation where a vast majority is mired in poverty but rich in aspirations?
It is a reverse Robin Hood syndrome at work today: the money of the poor is looted and the rich have become filthy rich.
Why this sorry state of affairs and who is behind it? What can be done to save the banks and who can do it? These are some of the questions that provoke any thinking mind. Let’s take a look at the shocking story that threatens to break the nation’s back and let’s understand where the real fault lies.
Bank nationalization was highlighted as an epoch-making event in the history of the nation. It would expedite a progressive revolution to ensure equitable growth and raise the living standards of billions in one of the world’s most diversified nations. Visionaries, protagonists, experts and others rightly thought the new banking system would be more caring to the poor. Farmers would get e loans to improve their lives. Monopolies would be checked; financial accessibility, financial awareness and improved regulations would follow.
It was a great dream that the nation saw in 1969. But now in 2016, the dream is all but shattered. On a fine winter February morning, a chill went down the spine of the nation when one newspaper carried a bold, front page report about the huge losses of public sector banks and their critical condition.
Twenty-nine state owned banks wrote off a total of Rs 1.14 lakh crore of bad debt between financial years 2013 and 2015. Bad loans of PSU banks grew at 4 per cent per annum between 2004 and 2012. But in the financial years 2013 to 2015 they rose at almost 60 per cent. Which means taking loans and not paying back has increasingly become the rule.
After the nationalization of banks in 1969, but mostly after globalization and liberalization of economy the khas admis, the well connected, the unethical and the dishonest steadily appeared from all corners and played their roles. The first big bad loan was written off and then that became the trend. More bad loans and more writing off. So much so that it reached this unbearable state.
In the last 10 years a staggering Rs 2.5 lakh crore of public money has been lost by India's public sector banks. The extent of these "bad loans" is greater than the loss to the exchequer from the 2G scam (Rs 1.76 lakh crore) or Coalgate (Rs 1.86 lakh crore). Worse, the bad loans scam is continuing to unfold and a conservative estimate shows that by the end of 2018 Non-Performing Assets may cross Rs.6.5 lakh crore. Add to that the Rs 8,734 crore that PSU banks have lost on account of loans disbursed on fake documents. Many are of the view that the RBI’s own laxness in tamping down on bad lending practices also allowed the problem to swell.
A careful inquiry would reveal that bad loans were not just the result of bad business decisions but of bad intent because businessmen in cahoots with politicians, bankers and bureaucrats have been looting public sector banks merrily. After all, the rate of bad debts in government-owned banks is about 5-10 times higher than in private banks. It is undeniable that poor management and corruption are also major reasons for public sector banks to be bleeding.
There are many dubious experts who can manufacture anything except of course what they are supposed to manufacture. Say for example company X prepares a report to be presented to the bank for a big loan for the purpose of buying high-end machines for infrastructure or mining of coal. It quotes a cost almost three times the actual and avails loan of hundreds of crore rupees. It finds that the machines are cheapest in China, and buys them through a bogus company based say in Dubai, paying twice or thrice the actual cost.
This is how even before manufacturing commences the company makes a few hundred crore rupees. The difference comes through hawala operators and it’s party time for the promoters, directors and all those stakeholders of the ‘ring of lies and deceit’ that includes politicians, bureaucrats, bankers, CAs, and other cronies and criminals.
Part of the hawala money comes through FDI route in the same company as equity investment. Mind you, this is money that belongs to a public sector bank. This sudden bounty is also used to boost the image and lifestyle of the promoter. It’s time to celebrate with a new Mercedes, a BMW, a lavish house, or in a Maharaja-style marriage of one’s daughter or son. All this happens with the knowledge of the banker, the government, the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, the Enforcement Directorate and other agencies.
Malpractices are rife today. Financial statements of enterprises are manipulated just to draw unwary investors in. Unethical chartered accountants and financial experts assist the process.
Our Prime Minister today is known for bold vision and action. It’s time he became the real Robin Hood and punished looters and unethical accumulators be they politicians, bureaucrats, businessmen, chartered accountants, or bankers who have conspired to loot our banks. These people must be arrested and booked.
It was also shocking that the Finance Minister while presenting his budget in Lok Sabha talked of infusing Rs. 25,000 crore in ailing banks but did not once mention the steps that the government plans to take against those who are wilfully making the banks sick.
Sometimes lower-level bank officials are targeted and made scapegoats while the bigger fish get away. Why just a bank manager, why can’t a chairman be punished? No economic offender should be allowed to get off scot free and the government must be sensitive to such abuse. If we don’t arrest this trend of Fake in India can we ever achieve our aim to Make in India?
It is time urgent and remedial measures were taken. Perhaps all banks other than the State Bank of India should be denationalised. A majority of the shares of these banks must be disinvested in a phased manner and the money so collected used for infrastructure so as to boost growth in steel, cement and other industries while creating employment.
Fearing attachment and disgrace, a poor, unfortunate farmer ends his life for not paying being able to repay a few thousand rupees to the bank. A small entrepreneur’s property is attached. Every day, small people are bullied by bank’s recovery agents.
In contrast, there are the favourites who have taken thousands of crore rupees of bank money. Without fearing attachment or punitive measures, they flaunt this money, and siphon it off. That is India’s grimmest irony. It is their property that must be attached. It is they who must be punished.
The writer is Chairman, Paras Foundation. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org