Even after having sought Rs 100 crore from the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) in May this year, Panjab University is yet to receive its grant for the new academic session.
Officials of the varsity have, however, stated that the university is likely to receive a portion of the sought after grant this month. The file for sanction of the grant is currently pending with the joint secretary of the University Grants Commission (UGC).
For the academic session of 2016-17, the MHRD had sanctioned a grant of Rs 176 crore for the varsity in March.
In January this year, PU had received the first installment of its central funds for 2015-16 of Rs 150 crore after an extended delay. Later in March, the university received Rs 26 crore from the UGC, which was a portion of the remaining funds of its long-overdue grant from the UGC. The university was expecting a grant of Rs 67 crore, but the UGC had then frozen the annual grant at Rs 176 crore only.
“Each year, there is an increment of eight percent in the central funds. But for the last two years, this increment has not been provided due to tightening of the UGC’s budget. For 2015-16 and 2016-17, the sanctioned amount for PU from the UGC has stood at Rs 176 crore only,” stated Professor Akshaya Kumar, President of Panjab University Teachers’ Association (PUTA).
“Due to this, the deficit of the university, which was earlier at about Rs 17 crore now stands at about Rs 58 crore already,” Professor Kumar added. With the eight percent increment, Panjab University was expecting a grant of Rs 194 crore from the UGC for the current academic year.
Panjab University also receives Rs 20 crore from the Punjab Government each year, whereas around 200 crore is provided to the varsity by the Central Government.
The university officials have also taken up its financial crisis with the Punjab Government, seeking a higher grant. In view of the university’s dwindling finances, a revised allocation was however expected from the Punjab Government after being discussed in the state budget. However, so far, no confirmation has been given by the Punjab Government regarding any hike in its existing grant of Rs. 20 crore towards the varsity.
Against the Rs 200 crore generated by the university through self-sustaining means each year, the university is expecting to raise Rs 210 crore on its own for the new academic year.
In an indication of how desperate the varsity is to raise money to tide over its financial crisis, members of the PU think tank had suggested renting out university buildings after classes to other institutions, and even recommended that rooftops of some buildings on campus could leased to firms for generating solar energy.