Colleges urge state government to make bill updating system available
Colleges in all streams in Maharashtra are waiting to receive their dues of over Rs 2,000 crore from the state government. Surprisingly, the amount to be paid to some colleges has been on hold since 2011-12. This has put the colleges in difficulty as they struggle to pay staff salaries. Meanwhile, Vidarbha Un-Aided Engineering College Managements’ Association urged the state government to make available the bill discount system for payment of scholarship amount from nationalized banks. All professional colleges such as engineering, architecture, pharmacy, medicine, MBA, etc. run by self-funded (private) institutes have been facing severe financial crises for 5-6 years due to the delay central and state governments in the disbursement of scholarships and the franchise goes to colleges, institutes. Some colleges have their scholarship amount pending since 2010-11. Likewise, the majority of colleges have been waiting for scholarships and freeships for more than 2 years.
The amount pending with the government of individual colleges institutes is still very huge in rupee crores. It becomes very difficult for all vocational colleges to make teaching and non-teaching staff salaries on time, filing PF and TDS deductions on time, facing other expenses such as paying electricity bills, l advance to staff, etc. majority of institutes, payment of salaries has been pending for 6 to 8 months or more. Previously, there was a system of ad hoc (up-front) payment of scholarships and free fees to institutes by the state government. The state government provided 25% of the amount (taking into account the last year of scholarship and free) as an ad hoc payment so that the colleges / institutes function properly and can pay their staff salaries on time. Although the Government Resolution (GR) in this regard of the ad hoc arrangement of the payment of the amount of the scholarship as an advance still exists but is not being implemented. The state government has made no provision on the MahaDBT online scholarship portal for such ad hoc advances. In addition, the amount of the grant and the gratuity is not paid on time and is delayed by approximately 2 years. This made the day-to-day financial management of all colleges worse.
Central and state governments have kept education as the penultimate priority on their respective agendas, which is a very serious issue and the issue of shaping a good career for every child and young person is at stake, the association said. . The association called on the government to either start continuing the earlier ad hoc system of early payment of scholarships and free tuition and make the necessary changes to the online scholarship portal MahaDBT accordingly. The association also stressed, “Provide us with the option to ‘discount bills’ with nationalized banks for bills generated by the welfare department, tribal department and DTE of all scholarship application forms. approved at the district level itself so that the colleges receive an immediate amount on certified invoices produced to the respective banks by the colleges. The association suggested that the state government pledge the sovereign guarantee with the banks on behalf of the colleges and that whenever the state government releases the amount, it will be credited to the respective banks from where the stock exchange, free delivery invoices are discounted. The interest of the Bank for the duration should be borne by the state government. If the state government accepts the “bill discount” program but does not agree to the payment of bank interest, then in this case the government should include bank interest as part of the bill. ‘interest while fixing the tuition and other fees by the payment of fees. Authority (FRA) while deciding the fees for the upcoming session based on the presentation of the “certificate of interest” issued by the banks to the colleges / institutes for the interest paid which must be attached to the fee proposal. Recently, the Principal Secretary of the Welfare Department of Other Backward Classes issued a circular for his inability to pay the full amount overdue since 2010-11 and beyond for the next session of 2021-2022. According to the circular, the state government may provide a budgetary provision of only 25% of the amount for pending and new scholarship and free delivery proposals due to the decrease in the collection of taxes and duties due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
This state government decision will result in the closure or permanent closure of several colleges / institutes. Thus putting teaching and non-teaching staff out of work. The association’s general secretary, Avinash Dorsatwar, said the only solution left for colleges is to discount their scholarship bills from their respective national banks to which the online MahaDBT is linked. Banks can immediately release at least 80% of the bill amount for scholarships to all of these colleges. The association plans to meet soon with the Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar under the leadership of the association president Adv Abhijit Wanjari.