Punjab and Haryana were quick to push their technical education institutions for the centrally-sponsored quality improvement programme, but both are straggling in its implementation.
The two states, whose 14 engineering institutes were selected under the Technical Education Quality Improvement Programme Phase-II (TEQIP-II) being run with financial assistance from the World Bank, figure among the laggard states in the execution of the project. There is a huge lag in fund releases from the states to government and private technical institutions covered under the project, thereby affecting initiatives aimed at improving learning outcomes and employability of graduates and scaling up demand-driven research and development.
Haryana and Punjab have reported delay of eight to 12 months in releasing funds received from the Centre to their engineering colleges, according to a report prepared by the union ministry of human resource development (MHRD) last month. The time lag in fund release in the two states is the worst among the states. Himachal Pradesh, Maharashtra, Jharkhand, Kerala, West Bengal are among the states which have done better, besides the union territory of Chandigarh.
As a result, the two states have substantial unspent funds as on June 30, 2013, even though Punjab has done somewhat better than its neighbouring state, which has spent just a fraction of the available funds. The Rs 2,430-crore programme, started in 2011 in 200 engineering colleges and institutions, including some private ones, in the country with varying fund-sharing patterns, will culminate in December 2014.
In Punjab, eight institutions Guru Nanak Dev Engineering College, Ludhiana; Beant College of Engineering & Technology, Gurdaspur; Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar; Giani Zail Singh College of Engineering & Technology, Bathinda; Shaheed Bhagat Singh College of Engineering & Technology, Ferozepur; College of Agricultural Engineering & Technology, Ludhiana; Thapar University, Patiala; and Chandigarh Engineering College, SAS Nagar are covered under TEQIP-II.
The programme objective in all these institutes, except Thapar University, is to improve learning outcomes and employability of graduates. Thapar University was selected for interventions aimed at scaling up post-graduate education and demand-driven research and development.
While the project involves a total funding of roughly Rs 76 crore in the state, an amount of Rs 10.40 crore has been released to six institutes so far. They will become eligible for their second instalment after spending 60% of the first tranche. The remaining two institutions, which were selected subsequently, will be released Rs 2 crore shortly.
"We had some teething troubles in the initial days, but things have picked up. The programme is going on smoothly now," a senior technical education officer said.
Similarly, the union ministry approved Rs 69 crore for six institutions University Institute of Engineering & Technology (UIET), Kurukshetra University (KU); UIET, Maharshi Dayanand University; NC College of Engineering, Panipat; Faculty of Science, KU; Faculty of Engineering & Technology, DCR University of Science & Technology; and Faculty of Engineering & Technology, Guru Jambheshwar University, Hisar in Haryana under two different components of the programme. While the state technical education department had done well in phase I, the performance has not been up to mark this time so far. However, officials are hopeful of meeting the programme deadlines through timely interventions and constant monitoring and evaluation.