Panjab University VC hopeful after PMO’s reply on varsity financial crisis

Panjab University Vice-Chancellor Arun Kumar Grover remains hopeful that the Centre will come to the aid of the institution. The VC along with senior BJP leader and Senator Satya Pal Jain had met Union HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar two months ago in New Delhi to apprise him of the financial problems of the institute.

Grover had said: “We have cleared the disbelief regarding the incapability of the university to generate income with the revised budget estimation that was chaired in the meeting of board of finance, in which a member from the UGC was also present. We have managed to show that our income is now more than our expenditure.

It had been decided that at the first installment, PU would get a grant of Rs 80 crore from the UGC on Monday.

“Our claims to increase the grant have been justified. We hope after the clearance of the Board of Finance revised estimates by the Syndicate and Senate, the UGC and the Ministry of Finance will also clear the required grant of Rs 227 crore,” said Grover, Chancellor’s nominee.

Kamboj, in his representation to the PMO, had said the university was at risk of closure if the HRD Ministry did not release the pending grant of Rs 277 crore to wave its deficit. PMO had reverted to it by stating that there was no problem at the university and that the petitioner should leave this matter to the university administration.

The Vice-Chancellor expressed the hope that the university would get a grant of Rs 86 crore from the UGC before the next hearing of the High Court scheduled for November 7.

“I’m hopeful that we will get the grant of Rs 86 before November 7 which will give us the money to pay the salaries for the last three months of the year.” If the grant is released, then the university will get a total sum of Rs 176 crore in 2016. However, the deficit of Rs 107.72 crore will still persist.

“The PMO taking note of the representation and marking it to the University Grants Commission (UGC) itself shows that they are serious about the issue. The UGC which had replied to the matter before the High Court’s hearing says a lot as well about its sincerity with regard to the matter. UGC has recognised our concerns about our affairs and they are also considering our revised estimates with an intent of providing relief,” said Grover.

Others associated with the university called for more financial prudence. J K Tripathi, joint secretary (finance) and the nominee of chairman, UGC, who had attended the Board of Finance meeting held on August 1 in which the revised budget estimates had been presented, said: “The expenditure projected by the university is genuine but keeping in view the present state of affairs, all the positions be freezed and no further appointments be made.”

Former MP and Senator Satya Pal Jain, agreed with the PMO statement that there was no financial crisis at the university. Jain said, “There is no crisis as such at the Panjab University. The university has been pursuing the matter with the ministry just for the release of grants which sometimes get delayed and will come eventually. The PMO and government are absolutely right in saying it is a small issue.”

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