On 20th May, I attended the EPSI meeting particularly focused on the proposed IIM Bill. I attended this discussion on behalf of Skyline. The reason for convening this forum was for private business schools to discuss a response to the government from the institutes which are offering the AICTE approved PGDM. As per the proposed bill, from henceforth all the IIMs including the new ones, will be able to award their graduating students the MBA degree instead of the PGDM which was the practice till date. In case this bill gets successfully passed, then this will leave the non-IIM AICTE approved institutes in a position of emptiness. The fear is that their PGDM will then lose credibility and students will suffer while applying for jobs or higher education. This problem will be more acute at the international level.

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My own opinion takes me particularly to some management institutes which are in further grey territory. In case the IIMs get the right to award MBA degrees, then a number of PGDM awarding institutes may also look to get their diplomas ‘upgraded’ to degree level. In that case where does that leave the likes of super specialized institutes offering management degrees in unconventional lines. Perfect example being the Indian Institute of Forest Management (IIFM) situated in Bhopal or the Indian Institute of Travel & Tourism Management (IITTM) which has campuses in Gwalior and Delhi among other centres. Both of these are operated by their respective ministries as nodal centres. Also included would be the privately operated IRMA located in Anand (Gujarat) and MANAGE from Hyderabad. IRMA Trains students in rural management while MANAGE works in agriculture management. Will IIFM for example be given MBA status? But then a conventional MBA will not suit students graduating from that institute as it takes away the unique aspects of the course. Is there any MBA classification which directly states on the certificate the super specialization? This is not a similar case to a student taking up marketing or HR specialization in the second year, but here the student from day 1 studies a particular unconventional stream. Will these students instead be clubbed under forestry course like students from FRI (Forest Research Institute), WII (Wildlife Institute of India) etc.? The same parameters and questions apply to the other institutes I named- IRMA, MANAGE & IITTM. So while conventional management institutes providing AICTE approved PGDM courses will face massive uncertainties of their own, the challenges exponentially increase for these super specialized institutes.

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Fields life agriculture, forest management, tourism, rural management, fashion etc. are major industries across the globe and many countries have devoted financial and technical resources to the betterment of these industries. India would not have had a green revolution had we not modernized agriculture, albeit done over a small corridor. Similarly if India is to develop over the next few decades, the growth cannot be lopsided with focus purely on cities. We need to take care of forests and rural areas. It is in rural areas where still the majority of Indians stay and work. And we need professional management in these fields. That is where the institutes mentioned come into the picture. The government needs to do something drastic to save the interests of these institutes. That will only be good for the broader economy.   

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