Expecting a loss in revenue this year due to the pandemic, Panjab University (PU) is planning to cut its expenses in the revised budget for 2020-21 for which preparations have already started.
Already, the annual fee hike was put on hold this year and a concession of 5% in semester fee for all students meant losses to the tune of ₹2 crore. Not expecting to earn any revenue from the usual sources, including hostels, amid the pandemic, the university had even constituted a panel for austerity measures.
The panel has now recommended budget cuts under various heads and the recommendations made by the panel are likely to be incorporated in PU’s revised budget for 2020-21.
PU’s finance and development officer (FDO) Vikram Nayyar said, “As the university is in the process of preparing the revised budget for this year, the recommendations made by the panel will be first taken up by the budget estimates committee.”
Meanwhile, an online meeting of the budget estimates committee was also held on Monday. A member who attended the meeting, seeking anonymity, said, “The recommended cuts have been accepted and they will be incorporated in the revised budget after a review.”
As per last year’s estimates, the total revenue receipts were pegged at around ₹300 crore with an additional ₹247 crore grant from the University Grants Commission (UGC). The total revenue expenditure for 2020-21 was estimated at over ₹586 crore.
Austerity committee’s recommendations
As PU is grappling with dwindling finances, the panel has recommended various austerity measures, which include suspension of budget under leave travel concession (LTC) and budget for seminar and field work.
A 20% cut in office and other general administration expenditure and 10% cut in repair, maintenance and minor improvements have also been recommended.
Further, a 40% cut in the budget provision for hostels (other than salary) and 40% cut in budget provisions meant for sports activities have been recommended. Also, no new building or major renovation should take place this year, as per the committee.
The varsity has already suspended the financial subsidy for employees and teachers for attending conferences within India and abroad for 2020-21. According to sources in the university, the PU administration wrote to the government last month seeking a special relief fund.
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