University Grants Commission (UGC) has refused to enhance non-plan grant to Panjab University (PU) and has put a ceiling on it at `176 crore for 2016-17, though it has enhanced the same for other central universities by 15%. Non-plan grant is used to pay salaries and pension. Since 2014-15, the grant is frozen at Rs 176 crore.
In a meeting held on November 15 of the committee to rationalise and fix the ceiling on non-plan grants paid by UGC to various universities and colleges, it was decided to step up allocation by 15%, except for PU “as it is not fully funded by UGC”.
“In respect of Panjab University, the committee noted that only partial assistance towards salary is provided by UGC, recommends that the grant for current year be retained as last level i.e `176 crore,” says the minutes of the meeting, which have been submitted before the Punjab and Haryana high court, which is hearing a suo motu petition initiated following PU vice-chancellor Professor AK Grover’s red flagging the issue of financial crisis at the university in a senate meeting in September.
“University has submitted revised requirement of Rs 277 crore (Rs 232 crore for 2016-17, plus shortfall of previous two years at Rs 16 crore for 2014-15 and Rs 28 crore for 2015-16 and has requested the UGC to enhance its provision for 2016-17.”_PU report to High Court
The UGC informed PU about their decision of freezing grant on November 22. The varsity has submitted before the high court that since financial year 2014-15, UGC had capped PU’s grant at Rs 176 crore.
“The university has submitted revised requirement of Rs 277 crore (Rs 232 crore for 2016-17, plus shortfall of previous two years at Rs 16 crore for 2014-15 and Rs 28 crore for 2015-16 and has requested the UGC to enhance its provision for 2016-17,” PU’s report to high court says, underlining that in case request is not acceded, it would lead to accumulation of deficit Rs 101 crore up to the end of current financial year.”
“This could result in university defaulting in the making of payment of salaries and pension during the last three months of financial year 2016-17,” university has red flagged.
Out of Rs 176 crore for 2016-17, PU has got Rs 132 crore so far.
UGC’s reasons for not enhancing PU’s grant
UGC says that it has no control over creating posts in case of PU as against the case of other central universities.
“The creation of posts is done by Panjab University at its own level and as UGC is doing deficit funding, our share is likely to increase in case more posts are created by PU at its own level.”
“…there are audit observations regarding pay and allowances paid by PU to its senior functionaries (vice-chancellor and registrar), which are in contravention of rules of the Government of India. They were advised to rectify the same. However, to the best of UGC’s knowledge they are yet to do so.”
But both the V-C and registrar have contested to the objections. UGC also pointed out that despite requests, till date, neither any fund has been earmarked for PU nor any additional allocation made to UGC by Union ministry of human resource development (MHRD).