A California-based platform of former Jadavpur University students, which is into a fund-raising drive to help the cash-strapped university, has contributed over Rs 26 lakh for procuring computers and software licenses for a laboratory of the Integrated Circuit Center of Excellence (IC COE,) which is a part of the electronics and telecommunication engineering department.
Shubhankar Basu, a former student of the department who is associated with the platform and lives in San Francisco, said the assistance was provided because the department lacks the relevant state-of-the-art infrastructure it requires.
“The ETCE department at JU lacks critical software tools, hardware instruments and set-up required to design, model, implement and test the development. The department lacks the computer and server infrastructure required to pursue the work. Lack of funds (budget cuts both from the state and central governments), these infrastructures could not be upgraded,” he said.
The Center, which intends to produce new-age semiconductor professionals, requires support so the infrastructure gap can be addressed, he said.
The fund was transferred to the university last month by the foundation which has been over the past year supporting the various departments, struggling with obsolete computers and labs lacking modern infrastructure.
This newspaper earlier reported that the funds crunch has forced the university to impose a “general embargo” on expenditure.
The departments have been told that under heads such as lab teaching, departmental research and contingencies, only 70 per cent of the budgeted amount can be spent if the annual budget is Rs 3 lakh or less.
Ranjit Chakravorti, president of the foundation said India has set its sights on semiconductors as one of the sectors for growth in the government’s 2030 vision.
“Jadavpur University’s electronics and telecommunication engineering department which has been producing graduates since 1961 working in the field of semiconductors, has an excellent opportunity in providing skilled manpower needed for the upcoming semiconductor manufacturing revolution in India. But this requires funds which the foundation is providing,” he said.
Manotosh Biwas, head of the department, said the foundation’s contribution would help them upgrade the infrastructure.
“At a time when the university is encountering fund constraints, this assistance from the foundation will be of great help,” he told The Telegraph.
Biswas had written to the foundation for “substantial funding” in June.
A member of the foundation said the centre would require a budget of US $140,000 (Rs One crore sixteen lakh sixty thousand) over 3 years to build the necessary infrastructure.
“We have has sent $31,750 (INR 26.3 lakhs),” Chakroborti told The Telegraph.
“We hope to contribute more,” he said.