Jadavpur University’s highest decision-making body, the court, requested the vice-chancellor on Wednesday to write to the state government about the university’s failing financial health because of depleting contributions from the state.
The court had met primarily to decide the ensuing annual convocation but several members flagged their concerns about lack of resources during “zero hour”. VC Suranjan Das is said to have told the members he would write to the state government. Partha Pratim Biswas, a JU professor who is a member of the court, first raised the concern. “Successive reduction in grants has created a financial crisis on the campus and now a general embargo on spending has had to be imposed. The state government has an obligation towards a state-aided university that is coming up with stellar performance in the national rankings. If that is not done, JU will lose in ranking and academic standards,” Biswas said later.
The latest report of the university’s finance committee says over the past four financial years starting from 2018-19, there has been a deficit because of the difference in the amount received from the state government and total actual expenditure.
“There is a regular practice of 10 per cent enhancement of grants which is almost followed regularly. On the contrary, the provision of 2022-23 in the state budget is reduced by 23 per cent, over the provision of the last year 2021-22,” the report mentions. Another court member said the situation has come to such a pass that the university has constituted a committee to look into the “huge gap” in the receipt of funds and expenditure pattern and suggest measures, “including resource generation”.
“Since JU is a state university, the state government must do everything to bail the university out of this financial crisis,” the member said.
The JU finance officer had written in the university’s first newsletter released last month that JU was facing an acute dearth of resources and facilities for academic development and the only option left for “resource generation” was increasing the fees.
“If this scenario continues, then a day will come when we can’t go for any upgradation/ or purchase new equipment,” finance office Gour Krishna Pattanayak wrote.
VC Das told The Telegraph: “The court members raised the motion on the gradual reduction in the allocation of funds (in non-salary grants) and requested me to write to the state government. I will write soon.”
“We have already opened an alumni cell as part of the resource generation and it is getting a huge response.”
A group of former JU students have begun raising funds for the maintenance of the university’s laboratories.
The court on Wednesday decided the university would hold its annual convocation in-person on December 24 but the special convocation that is usually held the same day to award D Litt and D Sc (honorary) certificates won’t be held. In the past two years, the convocation could not be held because of the pandemic.