Relief, cheer at Panjab University over budgetary grant


Chandigarh : A wave of cheer and hope went out among faculty and students at Panjab University Monday as the union budget announced a grant of Rs.50 crore (Rs.500 million) for the fund-starved varsity, which is one of India’s oldest.

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Many were grateful to Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee as well as Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who is an alumnus of the university and also taught there.

R.C. Sobti, vice-chancellor of the university, told IANS: “We are very happy with this big grant from the government. It was a long pending demand of the university and now we would try to utilise these funds in the best possible manner.”

The university is funded by the central and Punjab governments in a 60:40 ratio. It has over 10,000 students, 70 percent of them women.

Ronki Ram, president of the Panjab University Teachers’ Association (PUTA), told IANS: “It is a matter of great pride that our finance minister chose Panjab University out of 400 universities in the country.

“Everyone associated with this institution, its students, teachers and other employees, are all very thankful to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee for this financial support.”

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh started his career by teaching economics at the university and went on to become a professor at the age of 32.

Ram said: “Currently, there is a financial deficit of Rs.168 crore and this aid would certainly help improve the situation to some extent. Now we are hopeful of getting complete central funding university status.”

Sanjiv Tewari, director of public relations, Panjab University, told IANS: “The entire university fraternity hails this decision of the union government. Finally, we have got the recognition that we deserved.

“They have saved India’s fourth oldest university, which is of great historical significance, from deteriorating. Now the central government should also impart the status of central university or 100 percent centrally funded university as soon as possible.”

Harmanjit Singh Deol, a research scholar, said: “It seems that now the university is on the right track to achieve central status very soon. This grant has proved the fact that our finance minister is seriously thinking about us.”