IN A major relief to the cash-strapped Panjab University, Union Minister of Human Resource Development Prakash Javadekar on Friday ordered the University Grants Commission (UGC) to release Rs 140 crore to the university on an emergency basis. However, the Centre specified that it is a “one-time grant” and Panjab University needs to manage its funds wisely. He mentioned that there should be a system to generate its resources so that such a financial crisis was not created again, adding that UGC could not give grants like this again and again. Local MP Kirron Kher met the HRD minister in New Delhi and raised the issue of the financial crisis facing PU. “I am thankful that the funds have been granted. But we need to streamline the expenditure of the Panjab University. So soon there would be a meeting of all the stakeholders to chalk out a mechanism like the adhoc grants to be streamlined,” said Kher.
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In a statement issued on Friday, Kher said that Javadekar had mentioned that the Centre would not intervene whenever PU is short of funds. “He mentioned that there should be a system to generate resources so that such type of financial crisis is not created again because UGC cannot give grants like this again and again,” added the statement. On March 7, Kher had written a letter to Javadekar and had requested him to look into this matter personally by directing the authorities to release the requisite amount at the earliest, so that Panjab University could cope with the present situation. Vice-Chancellor Arun Grover said that he received a call from Kher informing him about the decision. He said that it would help PU tide over the crisis. “We will wait for the letter from the Centre to know the modalities,” he said.
In its appeal before the Supreme Court against the High Court’s order, the UGC had submitted that the High Court’s order of directing the UGC to release Rs 30.5 crore is in addition to the sanctioned budget of the Panjab University which it had already received from the Centre through UGC. The UGC has also submitted before the Supreme Court that Panjab University has got Rs 176 crore under the non-plan budget for 2016-17 and the High Court order to release Rs 30.5 crore is not in the budgetary provisions of the UGC and thus the High Court direction is unsustainable.