THE UNIVERSITY of Mumbai has violated the guidelines of the Rashtriya Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan (RUSA) by investing funds received under the central government programme in a fixed deposit, according to a report by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG).
The report said the university had received Rs 5.86 crore under the RUSA scheme in 2015-16. Of this, Rs 5 crore was invested with the Union Bank of India as fixed deposit (FD). It said the university has not utilised any amount it got under the scheme.
In a statement to The Indian Express issued on Monday evening, the university said: “The grant of Rs 5 crore was invested in FD (five FDs), as short term deposit. Hereafter, the grant received from RUSA will not be deposited in FD. The earned interest is credited to RUSA account. It will be utilised for the purpose for which the grant is received.”
The report, submitted after the CAG recently completed an audit of the university’s finances for 10 years, from 2006-07 to 2016-17, said: “As per the guideline of RUSA no fund shall be kept in the form of Fixed Deposit or any other investment of any nature other than the saving account. However, it was observed from the pass book of RUSA account that an amount of Rs 5 crore was invested with the Union Bank of India on 23/06/2016 as Fixed Deposit, in violation of the RUSA guideline.”
Also, the interest accrued from the FDs, worth Rs 37.50 lakh, was not credited to RUSA, the CAG report says. The Rashtriya Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan is a centrally sponsored programme to promote quality and equity in higher educational institutions. Funds are received from the central and state governments (60 per cent from the Centre and 40 from the state). Funds flow from the central ministry to the state Higher Education Council through the state governments.
The report by the country’s national auditor said the university claimed that the funds had been kept in FDs on the oral instructions of RUSA’s state project director, Meeta Rajiv Lochan. When contacted, Lochan said she was not aware of the report. According to the CAG report, the remaining Rs 0.86 crore was received for Research and Development but was returned to the RUSA body in the Maharashtra government. It says the fund was returned “due to non-approval of work by the Expert Committee of Mumbai University”.
While Rs 5.86 crore was granted to the university under the RUSA 1.0 scheme — first phase — the university missed out on the funds allocated to the state this year, as there was not accreditation for the university from the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC). Institutes in the state have been awarded a grant of Rs 340 crore under the RUSA 2.0 scheme.