Dashed hopes: Punjabi University gets no special grant
Contrary to the expectation and anticipations of the Punjabi University, the Punjab government has not given any special grants to the varsity, which is reeling under debts, in its budgetary allocations.
In the recent past, vice-chancellor (V-C) Prof BS Ghuman had met the top officials of the Punjab higher education department and finance department, and even used his personal connections in the chief minister’s office to get more grants for the university.
As per the financial proposals, the Punjab government has allocated ₹126.91 crore grants for the next fiscal, apart from ₹15 crore for construction of a girls hostel. However, the university did not get any special grants like it had in the previous fiscal, when it had received ₹50 crore.
The university, which has seen a shortfall in admissions and subsequent revenue, has seen increase in non-teaching staff strength in the past eight years, even though majority of the teaching posts are lying vacant.
“Against the 1:1 formula of having one non-teaching staff for every teacher, the university has more non-teaching staff. There are 45 programmers while university is sourcing software from private companies. Ill-planned recruitments, nepotism, and non-productive expenditure, over the past one decade has adversely affected the university’s fiscal health,” said a senior functionary, requesting anonymity.
“The former V-C has gone scot-free, and the present one is facing much hardship to bring in grants for paying even the monthly salaries. Under such circumstance, the university cannot produce best results,” they added.
However, Punjabi University Teachers’ Association (PUTA) president Jaswinder Brar, said that the university is in Punjab chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh’s home bastion, so it was anticipated that he will given ample grants to bail out the varsity from the ongoing financial crisis.
“The grant provided is a meagre amount as our annual expenditure is much higher. Even the PUTA had submitted a memorendum to the CM through his wife and Patiala MP (member Parliament) Preneet Kaur to provide special grant of at least ₹300 crore in the state budget,” he said.
“Only a special package of ₹300 crore can bail out the university from its current plight,” he added. He said that he is hopeful that in a revised budget, the Punjab government will provide more grants to the university.
The overall expenditure for the year 2019-20 consists of the liability of overdraft equivalent to ₹130 crore. 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 estimated deficit of ₹372.64 crore for 2019-20 is more than the estimated income.
Moreover, the university’s overall income has declined from ₹445.35 crore in 2016-17 to ₹409.08 crore in 2017-18, and ₹344 crore in the ongoing financial year.