Standing by its promise, Punjab government announced Rs 42.6 crore for Panjab University (PU) in the annual state Budget, which was presented by Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal in the Assembly on Saturday.
Vice-Chancellor (V-C) Arun Kumar Grover welcomed the government’s decision. “We were expecting this, so we are happy that the Punjab Chief Minister and Finance Minister have honoured their commitment to the PU,” said the V-C, adding the Budget estimates for 2018-19 have already been communicated to the MHRD. “The revised budget for 2018-19 will be sent in July.”
The allocation is according to the decisions taken during the PU’s Board of Finance meetings in the last two months. On February 7, Punjab government opposed the proposed restoration of Haryana’s share in the varsity and stated that it was open to increase its grant-in-aid.
“The government has allocated Rs 28.6 crore for PU, considering a six per cent hike. The constituent colleges will get Rs 8 crore and the remaining Rs 6 crore is the first installment of the additional grant to cover Rs 18-crore deficit,” said Vikram Nayyar, Finance and Development Officer, PU.
Last year, the government increased its annual share to PU from Rs 20 crore to Rs 27 crore. This year, along with agreeing to an annual hike of six per cent, it also agreed to release the additional grant to cover the Rs 18-crore deficit in three installments of Rs 6 crore each, starting from 2018-19. The decision was taken during a meeting on March 1.
Nayyar added till 2016, the annual share was fixed at Rs 26 crore – Rs 20 crore for PU and Rs 6 crore for its affiliated colleges, but from this year onward the varsity will get a six per cent hike.
The MHRD has also agreed to a six per cent hike in its annual share from this year. In 2017-18, this was increased to Rs 207.8 crore from Rs 198 crore.
The university has been seeking a revision in grant for many years. The financial crisis became acute in 2015 after the central government froze funding.
In September 2016, Prof Grover had told the Punjab and Haryana High Court that PU could be shut by January 1, 2017. In order to increase its internal income last year, PU increased its fee up to 1,100 per cent in some courses that led to widespread protests and subsequent rollback of the hike.
On Tuesday, the varsity was declared autonomous under category II. However, the vice-chancellor had said PU will have to look at additional sources to generate income to make the most of the autonomy.