The last senate meeting of the current academic year that had slotted 57 items for consideration, 29 for ratification and 32 for information, could discuss only 15 items including the budget for 2015-16. The remaining items would be considered in the meeting scheduled to be held in April.
In the heated meeting that lasted nearly eight hours, the house approved the budget of Rs 555 crore. The members locked horns with vice-chancellor Prof Arun Grover over the delay in sending agenda for the meeting and not finalising the minutes of the previous syndicate meetings in time.
As per the approved budget estimates, PU is expecting to earn a revenue of around Rs 246 crore in 2015-16. Out of which, an amount of around rs 75 crore is expected through sponsored research projects and schemes, Rs 23 crore through aided courses including USOL, Rs 49 crore through partially self finance courses, Rs 80 crore through exam fees and Rs 18 crore through other resources. The budget deficit in non-plan would be of the order of Rs 313 crore out of which the government of Punjab would provide Rs 20 crore.
PU senate approved the construction of new Girl's Hostel Number 10. The project would cost Rs 22 crore. The senate also approved Rs 2 crore for renovation of toilets of academic blocks and other buildings; Rs 45 lakh for creating additional parking space in PU campus; Rs 99 lakh for renovation of 'A' type houses and one room flats; rs 45 lakh for renovation of Golden Jubilee Guest House; Rs 72 lakh for installation of elevators at USOL and new upcoming hostel for research students; Rs 25 lakh for digitalisation of office records and purchase of computers and other peripherals and Rs 193 lakh for infrastructure requirements of various departments.
The senate also relaxed the income eligibility for merit-cum-means loan subsidy scheme to Rs 4.8 lakh per annum. Earlier, the limit was only rs 2 lakh per annum.
Cut expenditure, earn more revenue
To help the university overcome financial constrains, the senate members called for a need to cut wasteful expenditure and to look for avenues to raise additional revenues.
The estimated revenue receipt for current financial year is about Rs 153 crore, while the expenditure, including salaries and benefits is about `442 crore. The deficit stands at Rs 288 crore. Last year, the authorities were forced to impose 15% cut on the budget provisions, excluding salaries, medical assistance, water charges, electricity, books and journals.
To ease the financial position, Dr Dalip Kumar, senate member, said that the generation of additional revenue is the need of the hour. He proposed that the university should develop its shopping area on the campus which would help in generating more revenue.
Pawan Bansal opposes fee hike
The proposed fee hike of 5% for all the courses including self finance for the next academic session has been opposed by the former local member of Parliament Pawan Kumar Bansal and former PU VC Prof RP Bhambha.
The proposal of fee hike was tabled in the senate meeting but the item was deferred. A committee constituted by the vice-chancellor to finalise the fee structure of the university teaching departments and regional centres for the session 2015-16 had proposed the hike. However, keeping in view the sentiments of the students, the upper limit was restricted to Rs 1200 against the proposed `1500 as the maximum limit.
Bansal, who is also senate member of PU, said that the role of the university is to impart education and not to sell education. He said that the university should look for other ways of generating funds. Echoing similar sentiments, Prof RP Bhambha said that fee hike would cause resentment amongst the students.
PU VC prof AK Grover, on the other hand, said that they are under pressure from the government of India to enhance nominal fee regularly. However, he assured that the funds generated would be used for betterment of student community.
Deliberation on hostel fund
Several members objected to the practice of not including income from hostels in the budget. Dean students' welfare (DSW) Prof Navdeep Goyal tried to explain the rationale. VC assured the house that a committee would be set up to find a way out.