Vice-Chancellor of Andhra University G.S.N. Raju is pinning hopes on the prospect that the university will be elevated to the status of Central University, and says that it will be the best bailout package for the 80-year-old State University.
Prof. Raju pointed out that since the Central government was anyway mulling to allot one central university to the State, it can as well elevate AU to Central University.
“There is no hard and fast rule that there should be only one Central University per State. Uttar Pradesh is having four, West Bengal is having two and in Telangana there are three,” he said.
The university is precariously short of staff and funds. The total requirement of teaching staff is 1,050 and the available staff is just 450.
“This apart, in the last 10 years we have initiated a number of new courses and it calls for an additional 250 teachers, and we have recruited none. We are managing with the present strength,” he said.
On the financial side, the annual requirement of the university is Rs. 367 crore. It receives a block grant of Rs. 130 crore from the State and generates about Rs. 100 crore from its own sources.
The annual deficit is about Rs. 137 crore.
The major expenditure for the university is Rs. 100 crore for pension.
Coming to the performance of AU, the university is NAAC ‘A’ grade certified and is given a rating of 3.65 by UGC, which makes it one among the top State-run universities in the country. It is multi-disciplinary, one among the oldest and the entire campus is wi-fi with 1GB free bandwidth.
If given the Central University status, the V-C said that it will receive not less than Rs. 500 crore per annum as grant, which should pave way for making it a state-of-the-art learning place and research centre.
If the Central University status is not accorded then Prof. Raju said that the State government has to release another block grant of Rs. 150 crore or at least take the responsibility of pension commitment.