The Lok Sabha on Friday passed a Bill that reduces the government’s interference in the functioning of Indian Institutes of Management. The Indian Institutes of Management Bill, 2017, provides autonomy to the premier business schools and allows them to grant degrees.

Human Resources Development Minister Prakash Javadekar said the government will not play a role in the appointment of the Board of Directors in IIMs. “It will be for the betterment of our higher institutions,” he said in the Lower House. “We should trust our institutions. It is difficult to run IIMs from here.”

Financial transactions at the institutes, however, will be subject to Comptroller and Auditor General of India’s evaluation as they run on tax payers’ money, Javadekar said. “It is a historic bill which will bring a new era in management education in the country,” he said.

The Bill declares 20 existing IIMs Institutions of National Importance. The Board of Governors of each IIM has 19 members, and the executive body will now nominate 17 members. The other two nominees will be appointed by the central and the state governments.

Opposition praises move

The Opposition in the Lok Sabha welcomed the Bill and said the move will help the institutes improve their functioning.

Congress leader Shashi Tharoor said it was a “remarkable moment when a minister surrenders [his] powers”. However, he criticised the Centre for not assisting the IITs and IIMs which are facing financial problems. He suggested that the government should not give up control on fee structure at the premier institutes so that students from poor families are not affected by higher fees.

The Telugu Desam Party, Trinamool Congress and the Biju Janata Dal also praised Javadekar for the Bill.