Hazare rejects Rs one crore award
PTI | 05:05 PM,May 05,2011Mumbai, May 5 (PTI) Social activist Anna Hazare, whose fast for a stronger anti-corruption Lok Pal Bill last month made global headlines, has spurned the Rs one crore 2011 Rabindranath Tagore Peace Prize announced by the Indian Institute of Planning and Management (IIPM). “I have rejected the award announced by the Delhi-based organisation,” Hazare told reporters at Ralegan Siddhi in Ahmednagar district. “I cannot tell why I decided to reject the award. But my mind said ‘no’ to accepting the award,” Hazare said. The award carries a cash reward of one crore rupees, a gold medal and a citation. While announcing the award, IIPM Dean, Professor Arindam Chaudhuri, had said the anti-corruption crusader was selected for the award “to show strong solidarity” to his determined and non-violent protest against corruption.
Anna has frustrated the shrewd move of “Mr Pony Tail” who could have done without this development in the hind-sight. Assuming Anna to be a simpleton who will probably not smell the rat, the award was offered and media release issued possibly even before Anna could accept. Indian Private colleges who are known to offer dubious qualifications survive on the basis of huge advertisements that shut off the editorial criticism of the media (barring a very few) and by involving celebrities with unrelated activities, they use them in their promotions and as active endorsement to camouflage the fact that such institutions are actually offering an unrecognized degree. IIPM continues to be unrecognised and actively engages in “names dropping”. One such individual to fall into the trap is Mr SRK who compered some quiz for IIPM and now is featured almost as a brand ambassador. SRK is not Anna and has always danced to moolah and hence I have now stopped using any product that he endorses. For example the LUX brand of inners which is owned by one famous Todi from Kolkata currently chargesheeted for murder of his son-in-law. Several Private Education Operators have played with the Indian middle class for a long time now and the only publication that continues to expose them is the Outlook Group’s CAREER-360. Sorry, No advert could buy them.
- In 2009, Judge Business School, University of Cambridge, Darden Graduate School of Business Administration, University of Virginia and Haas School of Business hosted IIPM’s non-credit Executive Education program participants and conducted sessions for them. Berkeley Haas school has asked IIPM to stop using the Berkeley logo on its websites and marketing material, and has asked IIPM to correct the language in the ads to clarify that participants will not get any credits from Berkeley. Haas confirmed that IIPM, as a customer, could call itself a “business school ‘participating’ with the Haas School of Business.” In 2009, according to IIPM in its advertisements, it was partnering with the Chicago Booth School of Business. Chicago Booth reacted by asking that its name be removed from all advertisements and webpages of IIPM. IIPM did so, and communicated its apologies. The Judge Business School at the University of Cambridge said its contract with IIPM, limited only to an executive education program in July–October 2009, had been terminated, and the school “will not be entering into a contract to deliver any further programs for IIPM.” It has warned IIPM to stop using the Cambridge logo in ads after the termination of the program, but IIPM continued to do so even in January 2010. The school also wrote a letter to IIPM clarifying that a previous relationship does not allow IIPM to call itself a “partner school” with Cambridge. Darden school has also clarified that it does not have a partnership agreement with IIPM.
- The school’s programmes are not accredited by Indian regulatory bodies such as AICTE (whose accreditation is a voluntary process)and UGC which also stated, prior to a court settlement in June 2008, that the institute was not authorised to operate as a university in India. Prior to the settlement, the fine print at the bottom of advertisements of IIPM stated that the institute does not come under the purview of the UGC or AICTE. The acting Chairman of UGC Prof V N Rajshekharan Pillai in 2005 argued that the advertisements can be “misleading”. According to the institute, it has not sought de jurerecognition from any statutory body or accrediting authority. In October 2005, the University Grants Commission (and the AICTE later on) raised objections over IIPM offering technical degrees. The institute clarified that it never offered the MBA, BBA degrees. These are offered by IMI, Belgium, a not-for-profit business school whose programs are unaccredited.
- UGC and AICTE declared IIPM to be a fake university not permitted to confer MBA and BBA degrees; IIPM filed a lawsuit in response. In June 2008, UGC and IIPM reached an agreement in the Delhi High Court, with UGC agreeing to remove IIPM’s name from the fake universities list, and IIPM agreeing to clarify that it offers only “certificate courses”. In July 2010, UGC issued a notice to IIPM, after the Andhra Pradesh State Council of Higher Education questioned IIPM on the authenticity of its Hyderabad courses. UGC Chairman Ved Prakash commented that IIPM was advertising its programmes using the names of UGC, HRD Ministry and AICTE and that “it is indulging in cheating.” IIPM Group President for Corporate Affairs Amit Saxena said the institute wasn’t a university, was not empowered to award degrees on its own, and neither was doing so. IIPM is the “on-site academic partner of M S University which grants its degrees to IIPM students.”
- In June 2009, Careers 360 wrote that a representative for the University of Buckingham had clarified to them that although they are in talks with IIPM, there is no formal agreement yet; and that until IIPM’s program are formally accredited by the QAA, IIPM does not have consent to mention University of Buckingham in its advertisements. A Career 360 article also said that after they published their second article, IIPM removed the name of University of Buckingham from their advertisements. In May 2010, post a 2009 criminal defamation filing by IIPM against Careers 360, the court – observing that the Careers 360 article contents were “prima facie defamatory” – issued bailable warrants against Maheshwar Peri, publisher Careers 360 and Outlook, and Mahesh B Sarma, editor of Careers 360 magazine.