Nagpur/New Delhi: With the start of first session of newly started IIM in Nagpur, much hopes were pinned upon this Institute running makeshift campus at VNIT here. However given the initial intake target of 60 students it started with lukewarm response of just 55 students, 5 students below the opening intake. Not only this IIM, many other newly opened IIMs met the same fate in their inaugural session. This has signalled an alarming fact that more number of Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) may not mean more value for students.
One of them, IIM-Sirmaur in Himachal Pradesh, has just 22 students. Since 2007, the number of IIMs has gone up from six to 19; yet another one in Jammu and Kashmir is in the pipeline.
Among the new IIMs, IIM-Bodhgaya has 30 students, IIM Sambalpur 48, IIM Amritsar 45, IIM-Vishakapatnam 54 and IIM-Nagpur has 55 students, as per the HRD ministry data.
For a start, all these IIMs were supposed to enroll 140 students each and by the end of sixth year the annual intake will be 560 students each. Later, the number was revised. New IIMs were to open with 60 students each from 2015-16. But the data, which was presented in Parliament by the HRD ministry, shows that none of them have managed to fill the seats.
The situation reflects three key things. First, just the name IIM does not always attract quality students. Second, instead of creating new IIMs from makeshift campuses with poor facilities, the government may like to adopt a more mature approach before establishing new IITs. Third, establishing institutions in far-off places does not attract students or faculty.
IIM Odisha was supposed to be established in Bhubaneswar, but following internal politics in the state it was shifted to Sambalpur, which is nearly 300 km away from the state capital. In fact, IIM Sambalpur completed its admission process only by the end of September, a delay of several weeks.
Earlier this year, a government-appointed committee suggested to the HRD ministry that central-funded top institutions should be opened only in well-established locations with good infrastructure and better connectivity.
“The government seems to have fallen victim to political pressure from states,” said a professor from an older IIM. “IIM-Kashipur established by the previous government should have been a learning experience for the new administration,” said the professor, requesting anonymity. The HRD ministry faced a tough time hiring faculty for the IIM.
Union finance minister Arun Jaitley had announced a proposal to open five-six new IIMs, including one in Andhra Pradesh as part of the Andhra Reorganization Act, while presenting the 2014 budget. Five started operations this year and the proposed one in Jammu and Kashmir is yet to receive cabinet approval.