Gaurav Sabnis. Hero.

Gaurav Sabnis stood up for what he said. Can his detractors do the same?

Very rarely does The Acorn stray from its handful of themes, except perhaps, for levity. But here it strays from its theme on a matter of immense gravity.

Hats off to Gaurav Sabnis. For he had the courage to stand up for what he wrote. It is now incumbent upon the self-styled Indian Institute of Planning and Management (IIPM) to do the same.

It is not uncommon in such instances for people to call in government intervention. But that is not something that Gaurav himself would advice. His own beliefs would weigh in on the power of markets. So it is now for IIPM’s students and alumni to ask of its management some tough questions — were they wilfully misled by false advertisements into parting with their (and their family’s) hard-earned money with the promise of a reputable educational qualifications and well-paying jobs? Prospective students and their families must ask IIPM for definitive proof for whatever it claims in its advertisements.

But there is also a public policy angle to this. While there is no case for preventing organisations from assuming official sounding names, like the ‘Indian Institutes’ of various things, it may be useful to consider requiring those who do so to publish disclaimers to the effect that they have no official connection with the Indian government. Besides, India’s Sale of Goods Act, 1930 requires the product sold to be identical to the product advertised. Unlike what some may claim in its defence, it may not be wholly legal for IIPM to sell its services using false credentials.

Related Links: Desipundit covers this comprehensively. Michael Higgins’ post on reputation as a business asset.

13 thoughts on “Gaurav Sabnis. Hero.”

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  7. I think this issue should be handled very carefully. There are some middle class kids already studying at the IIPM , excessive criticism might further hurt their future job prospects. The students should not be attacked because of the stupidity of the IIPM handlers. After all , there are hundreds of MBA schools in India that are far worse than even IIPM.

    And that is the issue that has to be addressed. The desperate craze for the MBA/BE degrees and 9-to-5 jobs. The IIPMs and Amitys of the world will continue to prosper in India as long as the middle class contempt for the self-employed remains.

    In the US , there are a million private companies or enterprises, most of them small and miniscule. We are missing out on a huhe opportunity here.

  8. Raj,

    I agree that it is necessary to exercise due care in framing this issue. The Acorn is a strong proponent of private education, and is of the view that the mushrooming of hundreds of institutes and schools across India is a good thing. That there will be a huge variation of quality is also a given. So, in that respect, not only do I have nothing against IIPM, I support the idea of treating education as a business, as it clearly does.

    What I find highly objectionable though is its use of misleading advertisements to promote itself; and compounding that, using threats and bullying to stifle criticism. As I wrote in this post, it is incumbent on IIPM, as a corporation, to defend its claims in its advertisements.

    Indeed, it is with the best interests of its students in mind that it is necessary to flag this case. For they, the students of IIPM are the real victims.

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