Punjabi University receives a special grant of INR 20 crore; Varsity faces financial crunch

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Aarushi Kalra

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The Punjab government has sanctioned a special grant of INR 20 crores on July 22, 2020, to help Punjabi University meet its expenditures.

As per the budgetary proposal, the university expects an income of INR 380 crore and expenditure of INR 676 crore, leaving a massive INR 296 crore deficit.

The Punjabi University also has an overdraft of INR 140 crore, which is expected to reach INR 150 crore by the end of this year.

A meeting was held to discuss the finances of the varsity, which was chaired by Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal and Punjabi University vice-chancellor BS Ghuman. Professor Ghuman informed the minister about the financial crisis prevailing at the varsity and demanded an immediate financial relief package to pay the monthly salaries and pensions of the varsity employees.

Higher Education Secretary, Rahul Bhandari said, "Considering the Punjabi University demand, the finance minister has decided to provide an immediate special grant of INR 20 crore. However, the finance department has also directed the varsity to control its expenditure and adopt immediate austerity measures."

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The finance minister also directed the Punjabi University to take the assistance of former IAS officer Manjit Singh Narang, to improve its financial condition.

The university vice-chancellor has been asked to come up with a self-explanatory roadmap to increase the university's income from its own resources, by the next meeting to be held in the first week of August 2020.

Sources reveal that as per the audit report of the Punjab Audit Department, the university has overstaffed and despite that has recruited 600 more employees.

A government functionary said that the Punjabi University has been asked to declare the result of students, only then they will be able to have new admissions and charge fees, as a university largely depends on students for its funds.

The functionary further said, "The University is paid INR 104 crore every year. But now, it is seeking an additional grant of INR 144 crore, which is not possible. The University should stand on its feet and the Finance Minister too has to express his helplessness at some point."

Earlier in 2019, the state government had increased the annual grant from INR 88 crore to INR 93.4 crore, to bail the university from the financial crunch. Even in this year's annual budget, the annual grant for the university has been increased by 6%.

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