Most educational institutions in India struggle for funds but Delhi University has a different problem. It had to return Rs 108 crore to the University Grants Commission because it was unable to spend it.
The university will still have more than Rs 151 crore remaining with it that has to be utilised by March 31. As of Thursday, the varsity has only seven days to identify projects where it can spend this money on.
The funds were given to Delhi University under different heads.
Between 2012 and 2017, an amount of Rs 300 crore was given to DU to upgrade its infrastructure. Out of this, only Rs 100 crore was utilised. Due to non-utilisation, the other Rs 105 crore lapsed. Now, the varsity has time till March 31 to use the remaining Rs 95 crore.
The UGC also disbursed Rs 3 crore to buy books for the libraries. But having missed the March 15, 2017, deadline, DU had to return that fund as well to the commission.
An amount of Rs 56.7 crore earmarked to DU’s Faculty of Management Studies, South Campus, to develop itself into a centre for excellence is also about to lapse. This fund was allocated ten years ago but the varsity could not think of appropriate ways to utilise it.
“On March 3, a letter was sent to buy books and submit the bills before March 15. It was not possible to select journals and books in that short a period, so the fund has lapsed,” said an official in DU’s central library, on condition of anonymity.
For the Faculty of Management Studies excellence grant, UGC had once in the past given an extension, but still the amount remains unused.
“This amount was given to the Faculty of Management Studies in south campus for expanding the buildings and developing infrastructure. As it is in the ridge area, the university could not get environmental clearances for revamp. So they could have taken up the matter with UGC and utilized it for other purposes. But they sat on it and now do not know how to utilize the money,” said Rajesh Jha, an executive council member and political science teacher at Rajdhani College.
The university is now proposing to utilize the Faculty of Management Studies funds to develop a centre of excellence and the remaining Rs 95 crore to buy different Delhi Development Authority (DDA) flats across the city.
They say they the flats will later be developed into accommodation for teaching, non-teaching staff and hostels for students.
“It has been decided at the executive council meeting that if the DDA allows then the university will purchase flats with the unused amount. The university will also write to the UGC to give them more time to utilize the funds,” said AK Bhagi, another executive council member and teacher at Dyal Singh College.
Some officials also said that the university could not use the funds as the UGC released them late.
“The fund of Rs 300 crore that was sanctioned, reached the university one and half years late. Then as the funds were focused on infrastructure, the entire process got delayed due to procedural hassles,” said a senior university official.