Patna News : The Patna high court said that the universities/institutions have been sitting over the utilisation certificates amounting to ₹324 crore for years .
The University Grants Commission (UGC) has launched a special drive in Patna from August 23 to 28 for reconciliation of funds granted to state institutions based on utilisation certificates (UCs) submitted by them.
The counsel of UGC said this before the Patna high court, which is hearing a case related to pending utilisation certificates from the state institutions for funds worth crores availed in the past. All universities have been given deadline, failing which the court has threatened to stop the salary of the vice-chancellors (VCs).
“A special drive/camp for reconciliation has been planned from August 23 in Patna,” the UGC counsel told the bench of chief justice Sanjay Karol and justice Sanjay Kumar last week.
The counsel also told the court that after 2017-18, the original scheme of advancing money was discontinued and now the amount is reimbursed only after the expenditure is incurred by the constituent/ affiliated colleges/institutions.
Patna University registrar Col Kamlesh Mishra said that all preparations have been made for the camp, organised at the Patna University Central Library.
The Patna high court has asked all the VCs of the state universities and the joint secretary, UGC, Eastern Regional Centre, Kolkata, to file personal affidavits indicating the latest status of compliance of the order regarding submission of utilisation certificates by institutions.
Taking strong exception to the delay, the bench said that the “universities/institutions have been sitting over the matter for years and the utilisation certificates amounting to ₹324 crore were neither issued nor amount reconciled”. The matter has been before the high court for nearly four years and during the period many institutions did submit UCs on court prodding, but the same still requires to be vetted and reconciled by UGC. The high court order, issued on Friday, was uploaded on the website on Saturday.
“We only hope that the entire process of submission of certificates and reconciliation of the accounts/amounts would be completed before the next date. We notice that utilisation certificates, pertain to financial year 2007 onwards up to the year 2017 remain pending in case of some universities,” the court said, directing BRA Bihar University, TM Bhagalpur University, Magadh University, Pataliputra University to ensure compliance from defaulting institutions within a week, else it would be constrained to stop the disbursement of salary of the VCs.
LN Mithila University, Darbhanga, told the court that 5/6 colleges, which were yet to submit their utilisation certificates, had been identified and within one week, the utilisation certificates should be submitted by these institutions, failing which the process for their de-affiliation will be initiated and completed within a period of two weeks thereafter. Magadh University claimed to have identified 12 defaulting institutions and TM Bhagalpur University 13. Veer Kuer Singh University has 20 such institutions and Pataliputra University 19. They assured the court that the process will be completed within a week. BN Mandal University and JP University counsels said that their institutions had already submitted the utilisation certificates to UGC. Patna University said that out of the nine constituent colleges / institutions, eight had already submitted their utilisation certificates which UGC needed to reconcile.
The problem associated with utilisation of funds has been old and chronic with the state institutions. The state government has also been asking the universities for timely submission of utilisation certificates even for salary disbursement and citing it as the prime reason for delay due to finance department’s objections to issue further grant without reconciling the previous one.
A senior university official, who did not want to be quoted, said that the state institutions lost huge funds in the past due to their inability to submit timely utilisation, as they missed further instalments.
“In some cases, funds were also diverted against the UGC mandate, while there were many instances when funds remained unutilised and would have to be returned. Bihar’s institutions have had a poor track record in fund utilisation despite fund crunch due to a host of factors, including rampant ad hocism on key posts for years. Over the years, several principals retired and some also passed away, and now the new principals are hesitant to clear bills accrued more than a decade ago. It is just like what happens in the state government, which does not submit timely utilisation worth thousands of crores and after a lapse of significant time, it can only be managed,” he added.