Several factors, including withdrawal of support by Himachal Pradesh and Haryana, change in funding pattern after reorganisation of Punjab and restriction on grant by the Punjab government, have made Panjab University (PU) feel the heat of deepening financial crisis.
With the creation of universities in Himachal Pradesh and Haryana — the successor states carved out after reorganisation of Punjab in 1966 — the state governments withdrew affiliations of their colleges and their share of maintenance grant from the PU.
Consequently, a consultative committee of the Union government fixed the ratio of 60:40 between the Centre (through Chandigarh administration) and Punjab government for meeting the university’s deficit, in a meeting held on February 13, 1976.
Till 1975, the beneficiary states concerned contributed towards maintenance deficit of Panjab University in the ratio of state’s population and thereafter in the ratio of enrolment percentage of students of different states.
Restriction on grant by Punjab govt
In financial year 2000-2001, the actual non-plan deficit (which was largely used towards payment of salaries) was Rs 48.15 crore. The due share of Punjab government at 40% of the actual deficit was calculated to be Rs 19.26 crore. However, the Punjab government revised its contribution from time to time and its present limit is Rs 20 crore, which stands notionally fixed since 2011-12 (except in financial year 2013-14, when the Punjab government released a grant of Rs 18.33 crore only).
The capping on the grant released by the Punjab government, disregarding the continuous inflationary impact as well as the implementation of sixth pay revision reduced the actual share of Punjab government towards ‘maintenance deficit’. Considering government’s fixed contribution of Rs 20 crore towards the actual deficit of Rs 212.26 crore (2014-15), the percentage share of government of Punjab towards ‘maintenance deficit’ has reduced to 9.42%.
Considering the default increase in salaries, pension and other concurrent services and retirement benefits on account of biannual increase in DA rates, annual increments, promotion under service rules, an average annual growth of 12% ought to have been allowed for PU just to sustain prevailing establishment costs.
If a growth of 8% is allowed, it would not match the average annual increase in the net deficit, which is desired to be met by the Centre. Whereas, the annual growth of 12% can match the actual annual average increase in the net deficit.
Thus, if ministry of human resource development (MHRD) allows a uniform annual growth of 12% taking the actual deficit of 2013-14 as a base (Rs 171 crore instead of Rs 163 crore), it would not only meet the shortfall of previous years (2013-14 to 2015-16) but also meet the projected deficit for 2016-17.
In 2016-17, an increase of 16% is expected in total expenditure. The main reason for the rise is that a provision has been made for the payment of retirement benefits to the employees, who have been allowed to continue in service beyond the age of 60 years under the directions of Punjab and Haryana high court.
The income of the university has been increased from Rs 136.55 crore in 2011-12 to Rs 249.51 in 2016-17. This amounts to an annualised growth of 12.75% in the income during past five years.
In 2014-15, the university implemented semester system in its affiliated colleges, which resulted to an increase in overall examination income to the tune of Rs 14 crore. In the current financial year, the university approved a substantial hike in examination fee and the anticipated effect of which to the tune of `35 crore has been incorporated in the income of current financial year.