Wednesday, November 02, 2005


Deciding where to put an institution: Decision making in US vs in India (Why not the new IIFT in Chennai or Hyderabad which do not have IIMs?)

While thinking about this NIS/IISER injustice to Orissa I started digging deeper into why am I so incensed by this.

Perhaps it is because I have been living in the US for some time, and here such a decision is discussed much more openly. The people join in and have a chance to voice their opinion. The media joins in with editorials. etc.

In India the decsions seem to be made under closed doors and the media just parrots the decisions without questioning the logic behind the decisions. I doubt the RTI act would help in figuring out how such decisions are made and the logic behind it and who said what. Someone ought to try the RTI route to find out though.

In this regard another recent announcement that I came across is the establishment of a branch of the IIFT Delhi in Kolkata. See and Again, nothing against Kolkata, but this announcement also does not make sense. IIFT is basically a business school, and it is ranked pretty high among business schools and Kolkata already has an IIM. Wouldn't it make more sense to have the IIFT in Chennai (which is a metro and does not have an IIM), or even Bhubaneswar if for some reason it has to be in the east. It would have been easy to just add a FT department to IIM Kolkata and the new IIFT could and should have been established at another location.

(Personally, I think Chennai would have been a better location for such an institution as it is a metro and does not have an IIM. Note that although Mumbai does not have an IIM, Mumbai IIT has a business school. But then Chennai IIT could easily create a business school, so a non-metro without an IIT/IIITM such as Bhubaneswar would not have been a bad idea. Hyderabad would have been good too.)

But who is listening?

One wonders on what basis such decisions are made. The press, and for that matter, no one, seems to be questioning this. In the long term these decisions make some places more favorable destinations of companies, human capital, etc. and others less favorable. Unless people and press start watching and paying attention to this so as to make sure that there is regional balance in such allotment, the net result will be that some states in India will remain much behind than the others.
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