For Panjab University, the 2015-16 financial year has ended with a deficit of Rs 41 crore even after it received Rs 26 crore as partial grant on the last day of the fiscal, and the university seems to be staring at worst financial crisis.
The deficit could have an all-round cascading effect, which could directly impact disbursement of salaries of the PU staff, release of research grants, medical bill reimbursement and even recruitments.
For 2015-16, the PU’s budget deficit was around Rs 278.55 crore, though it received Rs 182-crore from the UGC, including Rs 150-crore grant in January, and Rs 6-crore grant from the Punjab government. The university again received Rs 26 crore from UGC on March 31, 2016.
Vice chancellor Prof Arun Kumar Grover said, “For the ongoing academic session, we have received `26 crore from the UGC, which is a partial amount as we are still short of Rs 41 crore. We faced this situation with the Punjab government once, but it had released the funds next year, so let us hope the UGC would do the same. We have no option but to keep trying. It is a wake-up call for all the stake holders.”
Meanwhile, Prof Akshaya Kumar, Panjab University Teachers Association (PUTA) president, said, “The amount we have received today is much below our requirements. It is a matter of concern since we are still short of `41 crore. We won’t be able to pay the teachers’ salaries if we do not receive the grants by July or August - it will be a crisis. How will the Seventh Pay Commission be implemented if the university is facing such a huge financial crisis?”
He added, “Each student, teacher or senator will have to pitch in as it’s a collective struggle for which we will have to fight now.”
Registrar Colonel GS Chadha (retd) said, “We are still pressurising the UGC to release the pending grant. The V-C has approached the UGC chairman and we still hope it will release the remaining grant soon.”
M Rajivlochan, director internal quality assurance cell (IQAC), and a member of the Think Tank, said, “At our position, we can only request the government. The funds we have are not adequate, and we do not have an alternative source to generate funds, unless someone wants to donate some money to the university.”
The Punjab government was supposed to contribute 40% of the PU budget deficit, but the government fixed its support at Rs 20 crore, which is yet to be released. From the financial years 2010-11 to 2012-13, the UGC released grants to the university out of its plan fund as an interim measure.
In 2013-14, a special meeting was convened by the ministry of human resource to make an assessment of the university budget, wherein a UGC representative was also present. The ministry recommended to release Rs 163 crore under the non-plan budget of the UGC. In 2014-15, there was a deficit of Rs 16.26 crore that remained unmet.
In 2015-16, the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) had alleged financial irregularities on the part of PU authorities. A fact finding committee was formed that looked into accounts of the university since its inception. In the process, the release of grants was delayed, and first installment of Rs 150 crore was released in January 11 this year.