The new year is likely to be a challenging year for the financially embattled Panjab University, which is trying to devise newer ways to meet its financial obligations.
Though the university has now received assurance from the Ministry of Human Resource and Development for release of pending funds, it has to go a long way to keep up with its deficit.
“The university needs to meet its financial obligations by ensuring that there is enough money for payment of salaries and developmental activities. Even though we receive funds from the central and state government, the university is expected to generate money on its own. This year, we are planning on brainstorming ideas for the implementation of a self-sustaining model for the varsity,” said PU vice-chancellor Arun Kumar Grover.
Talking about the Think Tank of the university, which was created last year to help the university overcome its financial liabilities, Grover said, “Now that I have assurance about the release of funds, the Think Tank of the university will get together to come up with ways of helping PU sustain itself better financially.”
Last year, the Think Tank conducted only one meeting. Making the financial well-being the topmost priority for the university, the next meeting of the PU Think Tank has now been scheduled for January 12.
Owing to the delay in the release of funds from the central government, the Panjab University was short of over Rs 17-18 crore, for which funds were diverted from other developmental grant. “The question lies ahead now is how much of this deficit will the Centre bear for the university and how much more is the deficit going to increase with the implementation of the 7th Pay Commission,” asked Grover.
Dedication to Balwant Gargi
Other than looking into the implementation of the many suggested reforms in its NAAC review, the university will dedicate this year towards the celebration of life and lessons of Punjabi language dramatist Balwant Gargi. With a focus on activities centered on art and culture, several seminars and other programmes are likely to be conducted in the varsity this year to promote theatre.
Choice-based credit system
As recommended in the NAAC review, the university will begin with the implementation of the Choice-Based Credit System for various streams this year. The Internal Quality Assurance Cell (IQAC) and Research Promotion Cell (RPC) of the university will also be working on a specific agenda in 2016 to promote more research activities at the university. “We, as a university want, to continuously be modernising, be it in terms of the way the varsity is run or the kind of facilities that are provided here. We will continue to focus on providing more opportunities to our students and faculty members,” Grover said.
Multi-level parking, hostels
In 2015, the academic area of the varsity was declared a vehicle-free zone after a referendum was conducted. However, the same was not implemented last year, as the university authorities were chalking out an alternative parking plan. According to the university officials, work for maintaining the academic area as a vehicle-free zone will be started once more security guards are appointed inside the university premises.
A shuttle bus service between the two campuses will also be introduced for the first time at the university this year. The university, which is short of providing accommodation to over 4,000 students each year, also has plans of construction of newer hostels for the girls and boys. The university’s students’ council is also hopeful of pitching in the idea for the construction of a multi-level parking lot inside the university. “Right opposite the administrative block, there is a pool that lies unused. We want to suggest that a multi-level parking facility be created there to ease the parking load due inside the campus,” said Rishi Bhardwaj, the secretary of PU Students’ Council.
Institute of life sciences
This year, the Panjab University will set up a new PU Institute of Life Sciences and Education, a five-year-long integrated programme for its science students. Under the new programme, students from all streams of life sciences at the university will be provided a common training for the first two semesters. During the NAAC review of the university in June last year, it was recommended that the varsity must consolidate its small cognate departments for effective and efficient teaching, learning and research.
This year will also be politically charged at PU with the elections for the Senate scheduled to be held in September. Students and faculty members of the university have already started narrowing down names for campaigning in the elections, while the student parties are likely to start the process of registration of students/alumni as voters for the Senate elections. An increment in the special budget provision for Senate elections 2016 to Rs 1.20 crore has already been approved by the PU Syndicate.