The Panjab University (PU) is likely to receive the first installment of its grants from the Centre shortly.
On Wednesday, PU officials met with the fact-finding committee of University Grants Commission (UGC) in New Delhi, and, reportedly, received a positive response from the committee towards release of frozen funds. The meeting was attended by PU Dean Students’ Welfare (DSW) Professor Navdeep Goyal, Registrar Col. GS Chadha (Retd.) and Finance and Development Officer (FDO) Vikram Nayyar.
During the meeting, all the requested queries by the fact-finding committee were reportedly answered to, and all necessary documents were furnished by university officials.
As requested by the fact-finding committee, a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) has also been implemented at the PU hostels for the administrative and financial restructuring of hostels.
According to a PU spokesperson, “The meeting in Delhi was satisfactory and positive. All the queries have been responded to by the university. We are hopeful that the first installment of the grant will be received very soon.”
Due to the lack of funds, the varsity has been unable to pay the Dearness Allowance (DA) to its employees since July, and reimbursement of medical bills was also put on hold.
The university’s annual budget for the year 2015-16 is about 480 crore, out of which 200 crore is generated through fees and other self-sustaining means.
With funds from the Centre being frozen since April this year, there has been an estimated budget deficit of 280 crore, so far.
To meet this deficit, about 200 crore is provided by the Central Government each year.
This year however, the funds have not yet been released by the Centre. In April this year, student members of Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) had approached the Ministry of Human Resource and Development (MHRD), alleging a misappropriation of funds at the PU hostels.
Post the complaint, a fact-finding committee was set up to inquire into the issue, and since then the university’s funds have been frozen by the Centre.
However, after having met with officials from MHRD, PU Vice-Chancellor said that UGC had no authority to freeze funds to the university due to an ongoing investigation, and that the situation had come up due to lack of communication between the MHRD and University Grants Commission.