“Annamalai varsity will tide over financial crisis”

The Tamil Nadu Federation of All Universities’ Employees’ Associations has welcomed the budgetary proposal of the State government for allocating a sum of Rs. 979.32 crore to the universities under the separate head of “block grant” for the financial year 2014-2015.

Block grant

State president of the Federation S. Mathiyalagan told The Hindu that it was for the first time in the history of the universities that the government had created a separate head under “block grant” and that too sanctioned a whopping grant of Rs. 979.32 crore.

Turn around

“Besides improving the overall financial health of universities such a move would particularly enable the crisis-ridden Annamalai University to turn around,” Mr. Mathiyalagan said.

During its recent State conference the Federation had made an appeal to Chief Minister Jayalalithaa to enhance the block grant to the universities so as to improve their financial condition.

He underscored the point that there were as many as 18 government-run/aided universities in the State and all of these institutions could not be said to be financially viable.

Crisis

There were valid reasons for the financial crisis daunting the universities because they would have to collect only the government-fixed admission fees, and as such in the face of mounting salary bills and development expenditure this could not be said to be an ideal revenue model.

Shortage of funds

Shortage of funds was acting as a stumbling block for improving the facilities in the universities which in turn hampered the growth of higher education.

Citing the instance of Annamalai University, in which he is one of the coordinators of the Joint Action Council of the Teaching and Non-Teaching Staff Associations, Mr. Mathiyalagan noted that having realised the difficulties of these institutions the Federation had made a representation to the Chief Minister to raise the block grant.

Annual grant to Annamalai University

He observed that the annual grant to Annamalai University was in the order of Rs. 61 crore whereas its actual annual funds requirements would be Rs. 600 crore.

The huge gap between the funds availability and actual requirements had become unbridgeable, thus, throwing the university into a financial rut which was now being sought to be revived.

The huge monetary support announced by the government would certainly pep up the functioning of the universities as it would benefit about 25,000 teaching and non-teaching staff.

Developmental works in colleges

Besides meeting the salary and other financial obligations for the staff the universities would hereafter be left with considerable amount at their disposal to undertake developmental works.

“It would certainly act as a stimulus to the universities to fill up the existing vacancies and also create new jobs.” The Federation has also thanked the government for having earmarked a sum of Rs. 3,627.93 crore for higher education.

“Utilise judiciously”

“At the same time the Federation has called upon all the universities to utilise the funds for constructive and development purposes to take higher education in the State to greater heights,” Mr. Mathiyalagan said.