As dozens of colleges struggle due lack of funds, the NIPER remains flush with no idea on how it should spend
Many higher education institutions in the country may be suffering due to lack of adequate funding, but National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research (NIPER), located in Mohali, faces no such problem.
On the contrary, it is flush with money and does not know what to do.
The institute has the dubious distinction of building up a huge endowment fund from generous grants it has been receiving from its parent ministry - chemicals and fertilizers - as well as other wings of the government since it was set in 1998.
The Mohali-based National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research
The endowment fund, which was in excess of Rs 25 crore at the end of financial year 2009- 2010, has been termed 'purposeless' by auditors of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) in sample audits conducted in the past four years.
The size of the fund has something to do with inefficiency of the institute.
For example, Rs 38.75 crore was received as grant-in-aid during 2007-08, but only Rs 29.60 crore was utilised leaving the balance of Rs 9.15 crore unutilised. Despite not being able to use funds properly, the institute could get `51.46 crore as grants during 2008-09.
Of this also Rs 4.4 crore remained unutilised. The audit findings have been shared with the ministry of chemicals and fertilizers but no corrective action has been taken. On the other hand, whistleblowers are being victimised.
'If these are the findings of test audits, one can imagine what would come out when CAG conducts full audit of the institute', commented a senior expert associated with the institute. Ironically, the institute cites guidelines which were issued prior to its setting up in 1998.
As per these guidelines, 'savings and undesignated finds will be treated as corpus and interest accruing and other income from the asset will be used normally for development, and if necessary, for operational expenses'. However, CAG auditors have rejected this explanation saying the guidelines were issued before the NIPER Act was implemented in 1998.
According to the Act, funds can be set up only for some specified purposes. But the endowment fund being run by the institute has no stated purpose. The institute authorities are keeping the money as fixed deposits in banks. Even in this exercise, serious irregularities have been noticed in the audit reports accessed under the RTI Act.
In the absence of any mechanism to oversee its investments, the institute suffered 'an avoidable loss of interest worth Rs 49.56 lakh' during 2009-2010, according to the audit report.
NIPER authorities told auditors that since providing education is not a commercial activity 'the institute needs to raise its resources only to the extent of improving infrastructure'.
The auditors have rejected this explanation saying neither any purpose of the fund has been stated nor have rules been framed for administration of this fund. This issue has also never been taken up with the ministry.
NIPER acting director Dr K.K. Bhutani acknowledged emails from Mail Today but did not respond to specific questions.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/indiahome/indianews/article-2114190/As-dozens-colleges-struggle-lack-funds-NIPER-remains-flush-idea-spend.html#ixzz1oxfavBzw