THE UNIVERSITY of Mumbai has withdrawn over Rs 100 crore from its fixed deposits in less than two years. The amount, revealed in a reply to an inquiry under the Right to Information Act, indicates the financial challenges faced by the university even though it presented a surplus budget in the past two years. According to the reply to a query by RTI activist Anil Galgali, the university has withdrawn around Rs 111 crore from its fixed deposits in the past 22 months. The reply shows that between July 1, 2015, and May 31 this year, at least 100 withdrawals had been recorded from its fixed deposits in various banks taking the total amount to Rs 1,10,87,90,661.
At least 11 times, an amount of Rs 1 crore had been encashed, with the highest amount encashed prematurely being over Rs 6 crore from the Bank of Baroda. “The university has been presenting surplus budget year after year but the withdrawals point out an acute financial crisis. This in turn indicates lack of planning on the part of the V-C,” said Galgali, who has now written to the Governor on the subject. Vice-Chancellor Sanjay Deshmukh remained unavailable for comment.
Registrar M A Khan said that as part of financial planning, the university keeps its reserve funds in fixed deposits that might be dipped into when there is requirement. “We are receiving only 75 per cent advance payment for over 1,000 employees. Since April 1, we have not received any payment from the government towards the salary of these employees. The monthly salary expenses of the university is Rs 6 to 7 crore for the over 2,500 employees,” said Khan. He added that pension of many former employees had become a liability for the university. Khan said that seven major construction works were nearing completion and those demanded payment from the university.
With several of the university’s systems transitioning to an online model to bring more transparency, more funds were needed, he said. “These issues demand more money hence time to time, the expenses are made following the due process,” Khan said.