Pegged as self-financed, several Panjab University courses proving economically unviable
Panjab University’s UIET and dental institute are unable to even meet their expenses through their self-financed courses, let alone generate surplus revenue for varsity
While the first decade of 2000s began with the launch of several self-financed courses at Panjab University (PU), envisaging them as money-spinners, not all courses have managed financial viability in the long run.
According to the income and expenditure figures of some of the major self-financed courses given in the budget of the last three financial years, the expenditure of University Institute of Engineering and Technology (UIET) and Dr Harvansh Singh Judge Institute of Dental Sciences far exceeds their income.
While UIET was established in 2002, Dr Harvansh Singh Judge Institute of Dental Sciences and Hospital was set up in 2006. All courses at both institutes are self-financed, which are run on the fee collected from students and hence have a higher fee structure, compared to traditional courses.
On the contrary, University Institute of Applied Management Sciences (UIAMS) and University Institute of Legal Studies (UILS) are generating surplus revenue.
In 2019-20 financial year, the revenue at UIET was ₹16.31 crore, far lower than its expenditure of ₹26.47 crore. Similarly, in 2020-21, the institute’s revenue of ₹17.68 crore trailed behind the expenses of ₹26.08 crore.
In 2021-22, the expenditure further surged to ₹30.09 crore, compared to the income of ₹17.11 crore.
At the dental institute, the income in 2019-2020 was ₹7.26 crore against the expenditure of ₹20.62 crore. Even in the next near, the income of ₹7.05 crore fell short of the expenditure of ₹20.55 crore. In 2021-22, though the expenditure jumped to ₹22.68 crore, the revenue stood at ₹7.36 crore.
UIET director JK Goswamy said, “The institute was initially started as self-financed but later changed to partially self-financed. The expenditure on salaries is met by the university through the UGC grant. It should consider introducing new courses.”
Former PU vice-chancellor Arun Kumar Grover said the fee of some of the self-financed courses had not been revised at the same rate as the rise in salaries and other expenses of these institutes, adding that these courses were started with the purpose to subsidise the traditional courses and if they were unable to do so, their basic purpose was not fulfilled.
Panjab University Teachers’ Association (PUTA) president Mritunjay Kumar said, “The university should work on implementing the vision with which these courses were started. Best practices followed by other such institutes run within the country and outside can also be analysed.”
“The university due to various reasons did not enhance the fees in these institutes from time to time, resulting in a huge gap in the income and expenditure. This gap is expected to increase substantially the moment new pay scales are implemented. With the respective governments not ready to bear the increased financial liability, it seems the university will suffer more,” said a former member of board of finance (BoF), adding that it was high time the university found methods to enhance its income.
A query was sent to the official PU spokesperson, but the university officials refused to comment on the matter.