The commerce department of the University of Madras will be developed into a centre for excellence.

All university departments have been asked to generate and earmark Rs. 2.5 crore for developing the commerce department.

Higher education officials said this was part of the State government’s plan to develop individual departments in every State university into centre for excellence.

While departments such as mathematics, pure science and many emerging areas have been identified in other universities, University of Madras is the only one to develop the commerce department.

According to sources, from the Rs. 2.5 crore raised, Rs. 1 crore will be used to construct new buildings for the commerce department and the remaining amount will be used to develop laboratories and world class facilities for the same department.

“We plan to have stock market and commodities laboratories. The idea is to provide ultra modern facilities to the students,” said S. Gurusamy, head, department of commerce.

As part of the plan, the department also plans to subscribe to reference databases such as Bloomberg database and other reputed international journals. A repository of publications from IMF, World Bank and other organisations will also be set up.

“We also plan to come out with our own publication, Journal of Vigilance and Finance, with well-researched details on finance, taxation and other issues related to commerce,” he said.

The department of commerce, one of the oldest in the University according to professors, requires urgent repairs. “We are waiting for the site of the building to be identified. Shifting can take place then,” said a senior professor. Many other professors are also of the opinion that the sum could have been divided equally among department buildings that seek renovation work.

“It is likely the up-scaling can be initiated to other departments after this. As of now, we want to focus on planning the steps ahead. The project will take two years to get over, once we get the buildings ready,” Mr. Gurusamy said.