Auditor pulls up Mumbai University for misuse of funds

Monday, 23 December 2013 - 8:17am IST | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA
CAG says varsity didn't carry out internal audit in the past five years.

The University of Mumbai has been grossly misusing funds over the last few years, the latest report of the Comptroller & Auditor General has revealed.

The report says that the university, with an annual budget of Rs390 crore, hasn’t conducted an internal audit of a single department/unit in the past five years. This despite having an Internal Audit Wing which is supposed audit all the departments annually. The report, obtained under the Right to Information (RTI) Act by activist Vihar Dhurve, also states that the varsity did not maintain crucial records like cash books and registers. Moreover, it failed to show its accounts of 2010-2011 and 2011-12 during the CAG inspection in March 2013, claiming they were “not finalised”.

It adds that with 40-50% posts of teachers and non-teaching staff lying vacant, the varsity spent over Rs58 crore between 2007 and 2010 (financial year)  paying temporary staff without seeking approval from the state.

Apart from this, it indicates that the department of nanotechnology — which is being established using a Rs100-crore funding from University Grants Commission and being projected as one of the best such departments in India — is marred with the corruption even before being launched.

Remarking on the varsity’s purchase of world-class scientific equipment by the nanotechnology department between 2008 and 2010, the report states, “In the procurement of imported and indigenous machines costing Rs4.08 crore, tender procedure was violated in such a way that favour was given to a particular supplier, eliminating other competitive bidders.”

The report refers to the purchase of an ultra nano-hardness tester worth Rs1.71 crore and an FTIR imaging machine worth Rs93 lakh to benefit a certain bidder.

These high-end gadgets have been lying unused, with their packaging intact, since the past three or four years as the department is not yet ready. The warranty period of the machines has expired and they are likely to malfunction when they are finally put to use. However, when the CAG sought an answer about this, it didn’t get a reply from the university.

The report also lambasts the varsity for its several incomplete construction projects. Out of the 14 projects started in 2006, it mentions that only two were completed. Twelve projects — on which Rs62.64 crore was spent till December 2012 — were marred with irregularities.

One of these projects is the cultural centre at Kalina, which has been under construction since 2007. The UGC also granted the university Rs10 crore to upgrade its departments. However, work on this has not started.  The construction of the School of language has been going on since 2006.

269 colleges have no principals 
The report states, “There are 741 colleges, of which 546 have temporary affiliations and 269 don’t have principals.

However, it was observed that the university has not conducted academic audits for years together.”

The Maharashtra Universities Act of 1994 mandates an academic audit of departments and affiliated colleges at least once in three years.

An academic audit is essential to maintain education quality and keep a tab on government grants.

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