The Maharashtra government has strongly criticised Mumbai University for failing to utilise and spend a single rupee of the INR 5 crore grant released by Government of India under the Rashtriya Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan (RUSA).
Under the Rashtriya Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan (RUSA) funds are released by the Central Government to improve higher education infrastructure and other basic amenities.
Projects for which funds were released were -
- Procurement of high-end equipment
- Purchase of machinery such as computers, scanners etc.
- Revamp of auditoriums
- Upgradation of theatres
The state project director’s report suggests the lack of seriousness and strategy on the part of the University was one of the prime reasons for the same. Besides Mumbai University, another university that failed to utilise even a single rupee is Aurangabad based Babasaheb Ambedkar Marathwada University (BAMU).
At a time when the University has been facing several issues like unsafe and broken compound walls on Kalina Campus, revamp of its examination department, the University's failure to utilise the funds has caught the attention of all.
Surprisingly, the Vice-Chancellor of the University Dr. Sanjay Deshmukh has recently announced a campaign, under the theme of Friends of Mumbai University, that aims to raise INR 1,000 crore. The VC said that entities like alumni association that wish to contribute to the institute they had studied in would be able to make an endowment.
The report also pointed out that a time when state-run universities are complaining about the lack of funds, it has been found that nearly 60 percent of the central funds offered to nine state varsities in the last two years were not utilised.
This has impacted the performance of the state. A senior official said that the state project directorate (SPD) has taken the matter seriously with all the stakeholder institutions at their various workshops and review meetings. The non-utilisation of the funds has affected and delayed the release of the second installment of funds.
M A Khan, Registrar of Mumbai University said that the University will now utilise the funds and further sought an extension for the same from the state project directorate (SPD) and RUSA.
This is not for the first the University has failed to utilise the funds. The University also failed to utilise even a single rupee of the INR 13 crore released by UGC under the General Development Assistance Scheme of the 12th Plan during the period of 2012-15.