The higher education department of Jammu and Kashmir government has suspended financial autonomy of degree colleges exercised by them since 2016.

College principals enjoyed the autonomy to utilise an amount of up to Rs 50 lakhs without seeking any permission or approval from authorities in the higher education department.

The department revoked the earlier orders with an aim to streamline utilisation of the central pool fund and local fund available with the department and the colleges.

A letter has been shot to the director colleges J&K by financial advisor of the higher education department.

“In order to streamline the process and mobilise the pool fund and college local funds to utilise for meeting expenses of academic arrangements and providing support to the new colleges, the circular number HE/Acctts/financial powers/ 2016-17 dated August 4 of 2016 issued by the administrative department, is suspended with effect from April 01,” reads the letter.

The financial autonomy was granted to the college principals by the administrative department in 2016-17.

“Prior to 2016, the college principals were authorised to utilise Rs 5 lakhs without seeking approvals from administrative department. In 2016 the amount was enhanced in 2016,” an official of the department said.

He said the colleges charge an annual admission fee of Rs 2400 to an average student out of which Rs 1050 goes to higher education department under central pool fund and as the rest is maintained by the college principals under various heads.

“The amount maintained by colleges was used for disbursing salary of academic arrangement of teachers besides other day to day expenditures in the institutions,” the official said.

“But now the department has abolished this autonomy of colleges.”

He added the move was made to streamline monthly salary of academic arrangements hired by the college administration, who don’t get their wages regularly each month.

“The department is also facing a new challenge of meager enrolment in newly established colleges. In these colleges we are not able to generate the central pool fund or local college fund due to less enrolment which results in non-payment of monthly wages to the academic arrangement,” the official said.

He however said the college principals won’t be stopped to meet out the day to expenditures for students and may need to get approval from administrative department.

“But nobody is going to stop the colleges to utilise money for preparing identify cards for students or organise picnic and tours for them,” the official said.

Financial advisor in higher education department, Manav Gupta said the decision has been taken to streamline the utilisation of funds in colleges.

Courtesy: Greater Kashmir

“Also the salary of academic arrangements remains unpaid in new colleges which will be streamlined as well,” Gupta said.