Tamil Nadu

Madras varsity yet to clear its annual budget

The University has been struggling to pay the salaries and even pensions of its staff for the last two years, but the current V-C P. Duraisamy introduced several measures that helped improve the fiscal health of the institution. File photo

The University has been struggling to pay the salaries and even pensions of its staff for the last two years, but the current V-C P. Duraisamy introduced several measures that helped improve the fiscal health of the institution. File photo  

Lockdown has led to the postponement of Senate meeting

The annual budget of the University of Madras may have to wait until the next Vice-Chancellor is appointed.

The budget, which was to be presented for approval of the Senate in March has been indefinitely postponed due to the COVID-19 lockdown.

The University had to shut down following the Central government announcement on March 23.

It had proposed to hold its Syndicate meeting mid-March but with the outbreak of coronavirus epidemic, the meeting was cancelled. The V-C circulated the budget details by mail to the members for their comments.

The University has been struggling to pay the salaries and even pensions of its staff for the last two years. The current V-C P. Duraisamy introduced several measures that helped improve the fiscal health of the institution. The University had sought ₹45 crore but the government approved a one-time grant of ₹11.72 crore to tide over its financial requirements to pay pensions.

The V-C said on Thursday that the audit and accounts report and annual report were approved by the three statutory bodies, namely Finance Committee, Syndicate and Senate. "We got it approved by sending Agenda as well as the minutes-in circulation through email. When we call for the Senate meeting we can allow the members to discuss for information but there is no statutory requirement."

He said the registrar had sent a letter on March 23 to the Senate members stating that the budget proposals, the annual report and the accounts and audit report had been approved by the "Syndicate-in circulation" and were sent by email to the members of the Senate in-circulation for approval.

The registrar had invited the Senate members to make their comments "on or before March 31 in writing (hard copy).” 

"We have not received any comments or dissent note from any of the Senate members so far and hence it is considered passed," Mr. Duraisamy said.

The University’s Senate was to meet on March 28. With the extension of the lockdown, the chances of the meeting being held are slim. Mr. Duraisamy said the budget had been approved by the Syndicate by circulation.

The University would have to wait until May 17 for the lifting of lockdown and Mr. Duraisamy’s tenure ends on May 26.

The University norms specify that not less than eight weeks’ notice of the date of an ordinary Senate meeting should be given to the members. The V-C can convene a special meeting of the Senate if not less than 35 members call for such a meeting.

In this case too 15 clear days’s notice should be given for the meeting. The University statute has a provision permitting the V-C to convene a meeting at a shorter notice. But for the meeting to happen the University laws stipulate that the registrar should send the annual report, annual accounts and audit report and the financial estimates to the members ahead of the meeting, involving a lot of paperwork for the University.

There is also the issue of allowing a meeting that will have participation from as many as 118 members. Since the Senate meetings are held in the University centenary building and professors are seated at very close quarters there is less scope for maintaining adequate physical distance.

 

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Printable version | Jun 3, 2020 8:06:56 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/madras-varsity-yet-to-clear-its-annual-budget/article31511348.ece

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