January 25, 2006

IIM Games

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A student from one of the Indian Institutes of Management has reportedly been offered a monthly remuneration of Rs. 16 lacs by a prospective employer.

Going behind this news item, it tends to simply highlight the game plan the IIMs have been apparently following in order to create an aura of awe about them and project them as Institutes of Excellence.

First, the IIMs restrict the number of admissions each year to a number that is far below the requirements of the country's growing economy. This is cleverly done under the garb of maintaining the level of standards but actually it is the number of admissions opened that determines the level at which the students are accepted.

Second, due to the gross imbalance between demand and the artificially managed supply, prospective employers are desperate to engage the MBAs by offering exorbitantly high salaries. Year after year, the IIMs use this fact to cleverly market their product viz. the MBAs in a way that creates a virtual scramble and a queue of the prospective employers at their doorsteps leading to further increase in the average remuneration offered to their MBAs.

As the demand-supply gap is magnified by the clever marketing, the employers tend to grab whatever talent is available even by paying unjustifiably high remunerations lest they be left without qualified managers.

What all this does is that it creates in the minds of the public in general and the employers in particular an impression that the IIMs turn out super managers. In course of time, even the IIMs themselves start believing that they are super institutions.

At the end of the day, however, the country is left with a large gap in the supply of managers to run the growing industry and service sectors.

There is all the more reason that as long as the Government continues to have a say in the affairs of these Institutes, it should exercise its influence to compel them to perform their tasks better, not just bask in the false glory of the high salaries that their students manage to secure.

Buta Singh...leaving after taking the salute

The Supreme Court's majority judgment holding the dissolution of the Bihar Assembly unconstitutional is an indictment not only of the Bihar Government but also of the UPA Government, of which the Congress Party is a major component.

So far, the Governor, Mr. Buta Singh is sounding defiant, having said that he would take the Republic Day salute on the 26th of January. This has been taken to mean that he would not resign of his own.

There are two ways to read his statement:

First, it is absolutely clear that he wants the powers-that-be to understand that much of the blame for what happened lies on them too. After having given a first report on the situation in Bihar, he gave a second report recommending immediate and urgent dissolution of the Bihar Assembly. By all indications, this second report was generated after his meeting with the Home Minister and the circumstances lead to the conclusion that the Home Minister actually prompted the Governor to give a report, which would facilitate the action of dissolution of the Assembly.

Therefore, in his own mind, Mr. Buta Singh is convinced that the Centre is equally culpable although the report itself was forwarded under his own signature. The apparent defiance shown by him is, perhaps, his own way of making the Centre squirm in discomfort. He, therefore, wants to say that he cannot be made the scapegoat.

This is true and at the very least, the Home Minister should quit his position on moral and justifiable grounds.

Second, he has only said that he will take the Republic Day salute. This should not be taken to mean that he will continue to remain in his position. In all likelihood, he will quit shortly after the Republic Day parade.

But the Government, more particularly the Congress party. is in a hurry that he should quit 'here and now' to prevent the target of focus from moving to the Centre. This is a repetition of what happened when Mr. Natwar Singh was compelled to quit to insulate the Congress party, the other 'beneficiary' named in the Volcker Report, from becoming the direct target of further attacks.

To further insulate the Centre from having to own responsibility for the Assembly dissolution debacle, the Government and, in particular, the Congress managers are trying to pick on and take refuge in the fact that two of the five honorable judges gave separate dissenting judgments. But this type of attitude is simply trying to avoid taking even moral responsibility for a perverse act that was virtually orchestrated by the Centre.

The imperviousness to political morality has come to be regarded as the Congress party's own contribution to the politics in this country. Unfortunately, this malaise is so infectious that none of the other political parties or politician individuals are now immune from the same.