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Thursday, Dec 12, 2019

Cash crunch worsens, Punjabi University unable to pay salaries

In its budgetary allocation for 2019-2020, the university had proposed an outlay of ₹717 crore, against an income of ₹344 crore; the deficit is pegged at ₹373 crore

chandigarh Updated: Dec 04, 2019 09:30 IST
Navrajdeep Singh
Navrajdeep Singh
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
The total monthly salary budget of Punjabi University, Patiala, is ₹33 crore.
The total monthly salary budget of Punjabi University, Patiala, is ₹33 crore.(HT FILE)
         

The financial crisis at Punjabi University, Patiala, seems to have deepened as it is facing difficulty in meeting the committed expenses including payment of monthly salaries and pensions to its employees.

The university has not been able to pay salaries and pensions for November. The total monthly salary budget of the university is pegged at ₹33 crore.

A professor, pleading anonymity, said that the financial condition of the varsity is at an all time low. It has to make stopgap arrangements to arrange finances for meeting its committed expenditures for every month.

“The varsity is planning to take an overdraft of ₹40 crore to clear the monthly dues of employees,” he said. The university already has an outstanding overdraft of ₹130 crore.

“Of the total overdraft, ₹80 crore is a permanent overdraft (yearly financial limit). The outstanding amount includes loan of ₹25 crore, which the varsity has to clear by the end of this month,” the professor added.

Meanwhile, vice-chancellor (V-C) professor BS Ghuman said that the financial condition of the university is a cause of concern. “We are making every possible effort to generate maximum funds to meet the expenses and liabilities,” he said.

“I remained station in Chandigarh on Tuesday to hold meetings with senior officials of the state government over the financial issues of the institution. It requires a serious effort to come up with ways to deal with the financial situation,” the V-C said.

He added that presently, improving the financial condition of the university is the single point agenda of the varsity officials.

Professor Jaswinder Singh Brar, president of the Punjabi University Teachers’ Union (PUTA), said that it is the duty of the university authorities to pay salaries and pensions of employees by first of every month, but the salaries are delayed every month.

“PUTA has already demanded that the university administration should pursue the issue of cash crunch with the state government and demand special financial packages at the earliest,” Brar said.

“The university’s financial position is precarious. It is cash-strapped and under debt. Paying salary by borrowing more money from banks is a disastrous proposition. The need of the hour is issuance of white paper on the university’s financial situation,” Brar added.

“The university has not received ₹50 crore grant as announced by Punjab finance minister Manpreet Singh Badal while presenting this year’s budget. Of total four instalments, we have only received ₹10 crore. After that, the state finance department raised questions over its utilisation and capped it for only research projects,” an official said.

Figures don’t lie

The cash crunch can be gauged from the fact that the expected expenditure of this year was calculated to be more than double of the total income expected.

In its budgetary allocation for 2019-2020 financial year, the university had proposed a budget of ₹717 crore, against an income of ₹344 crore. The deficit was pegged at ₹373 crore.

Of the total proposed income of ₹344 crore in 2019-2020 financial year, the university is expecting to generate ₹226 crore from its own resources, mainly examination fee, university tuition fee, funds and security amounts of students, fee collection from distance education courses, registration and revaluation fee and other fees.

Last year, in an attempt to bail the varsity out from the financial crunch, the state government had increased the annual grant of the university from ₹88 crore to ₹93.37 crore. Even in this year’s annual budget, the state finance minister had announced a 6% increase in the annual grant for the varsity.