Punjab finance minister Parminder Singh Dhindsa on Saturday blamed the upward revision of salaries as per the Sixth Pay Commission for delay in payment of grants to Panjab University (PU). Punjab government is liable to pay 40% grant to PU every academic session.
Dhindsa, who was at PU during celebrations of National Statistics Day, told HT, “We know our responsibilities and we are trying our best to cope up with the issues involving finances. No doubt there is delay in providing funds (to PU), but we are delivering (results) and that is what is important.” When asked why Punjab government is opposing central university status for PU, Dhindsa said that it was important for Punjab to keep its stakes in educational institutes in Chandigarh UT, the state's shared capital with Haryana, as “the main stand of our government is that Chandigarh is a part of Punjab.”
On his government's plan to provide laptops to schoolchildren, Dhindsa claimed that the government had funds and the finance had already given its approval, “but the implementation part has to be taken care of by the education department”. However, he refused to comment on the recent scams in the education department that involve alleged bungling of central grants in the name of books and lab kits.
In keeping with the theme of the day, the minister earlier spoke about the challenges being faced by the statistics department of Punjab: “The main challenge is to get authentic data, and for that the department needs to be equipped with proper infrastructure and staff.” Admitting that there are errors in different statistics, he added, “Nothing can be foolproof ever, and we need to be ready to face errors here and there. But all I can say is that by strengthening the department with workforce, a lot of things will be improved.”