Following rejection of Panjab University’s demand for an annual development grant by the Ministry of Human Resource Development, the University Grants Commission has also expressed its helplessness to provide any additional funds to the varsity out of its budget allocation and has suggested that the university can alternatively explore the possibility of approaching the Higher Education Funding Agency (HEFA) for any other capital requirement.
The information has been submitted before the Punjab and Haryana High Court during the hearing of a PIL related to the financial issues of PU. In January, the MHRD had asserted that PU cannot be treated as a Central University and the revision of pay scale of PU teachers in accordance with the 7th Pay Commission can be considered only after the same is notified by Punjab government.
The PU in its report had also said that unlike other centrally funded universities, it is not receiving any yearly developmental grants. It added that the internal resources – the funds generated from the student fee, its Estate income, alumni contributions and other sources, are not sufficient to meet the various capital requirements of the university. The university had said it requires Rs 28257.59 Lakh for various works.
THE UGC in its reply to the court has said, “UGC is not in a position to give any grants on its own or out of its budget allocation, until and unless, the MHRD gives an additional budget for the purpose or alternatively, Panjab University can explore the possibility of HEFA like funding”.
According to an official statement released by the central government last year, HEFA is a non-profit, Non Banking Financing Company (NBFC) for mobilizing extra-budgetary resources for building crucial infrastructure in the higher educational institutions. “Under this, each institution agrees to escrow a specific amount from their internally earned resources (not govt grants) to HEFA. This forms basis for a credit line which can be used by the institution for creating the required capital and research assets. The Principal portion is repaid from the escrowed amount and the interest is met by Govt,” according to the statement.
The hearing of the PIL was adjourned to July 23 on Wednesday for arguments related to the issue of reforms in the governing bodies of Panjab University. The question regarding the reforms in governing bodies like Senate and Syndicate was raised by the former PU VC Arun Kumar Grover before the court last year.