Was industrial consulting really "uncharted territory" for IIT-B during the time -- presumably in the last two or three years -- Ajit Balakrishnan dealt with that institution? Thanks to Zen Babu's comment on my previous post, we have the link to this report from sometime in the mid-1990s. It states:
Consultancy practice has been recognized as an important activity from the very early years. In order to provide a structure within which consultancy services could be offered to Clients and Industries, the Board of Governors approved the first set of consultancy rules in 1964.
There is also some data in Table 3.1 (you have to scroll down a bit) about the level of consultancy activity during the period from 1985 to 1995. You find that the number and value of consultancy projects kept going steadily up from 305 projects and Rs. 36.1 lakhs in 1985-86 to 838 projects and Rs. 213 lakhs (Rs. 21.3 million) in 1994-95.
* * *
My previous post seems to have given the (unintended) impression that I was complaining about Soumen being ripped off. Let me clarify: that post is really about the casually cavalier way in which Ajit Balakrishnan tried to portray IIT-B as being clueless in the area of industrial interactions.
Like I said at the end of my post, it is entirely possible that negotiations between Balakrishnan and IIT-B administrators broke down on some issue or the other (for example, IP rights, or, access to Rediff's data). It is also possible that Balakrishnan felt that IIT-B's policies and rules were unreasonable -- either by themselves, or in comparison with those at other similar institutions. Instead of articulating these issues so that better outcomes become possible, Balakrishnan chose the low road by claiming that "the process for such an engagement is unchartered territory" for IIT-B. This is a legitimate issue for non-Soumen and non-Balakrishnan entities to comment on.