Panjab University (PU), among the country’s oldest institutions of higher education, may have to shut down by January next year if the Centre does not provide funds, Vice-Chancellor (V-C) Arun Kumar Grover said on Saturday.
“The major concern of the house should be that the University will shut down after next semester on January 1, 2017 if the government does not clear its revised non-plan budget,” Grover told a meeting of the Senate.
At the meeting, the Senate approved the university’s revised budget estimate of Rs 502.11 crore for the current fiscal, with a deficit of Rs 277 crore.
In August, Grover had met Union Minister for Human Resource Development Prakash Javadekar, seeking release of funds from the University Grants Commission (UGC) to tide over its financial crisis. The UGC has given Rs 90 crore to the university in two instalments, one in June and the other after the appeal to Javadekar.
“The Senate should pass a resolution inviting MHRD to the university so that we can explain the financial crisis to them. The government needs to fund its universities properly,” said Dyal Partap Singh Randhawa, a senator and a member of the syndicate.
The varsity has always functioned on a deficit budget, but before 2014, the UGC would ease the crunch with an ad hoc annual grant from its plan budget, apart from its regular annual funding of about Rs 170 crore to the university. The university receives a fixed annual amount of Rs 20 crore from the Punjab government and generates about Rs 200 crore annually from tuition fees, examination fees and property rentals.
After the Vice-Chancellor’s “shocker” Saturday, some senators said the university should have managed its finances better, while senators linked to the Congress party blamed the Centre for “starving” the institute.