Ghost Courses Haunt DU’s Financial Exchequer

Delhi University (DU) is well- known for the diverse plethora of courses it offers at different levels like Undergraduate, Post-Graduate, Ph.D, etc, on which it naturally incurs expenditure each year like any other Government university. However, enigmatically, the university also uses its funds on courses that it no longer provides, making them Ghost Courses of the university which haunt its financial exchequer.

Over the years, DU has been engaged in introducing many new courses as well over the years and new institutions like the School of Climate Change as well as School of Entrepreneurship. On the other hand there are a few courses that the university has discontinued over the years but keeps spending funds on such courses.

As per the expenditure details of the university provided by the Finance Branch, the university apparently has spent INR 29 Lakhs between 2017-18 and 2019-20 for M-Tech programmes in Nano-science and Nano-technology, both of which were discontinued in 2014, with the last batch graduating in 2017.

DU had introduced these courses in 2008 and had discontinued it in 2014 which also corresponded with the Union Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry’s decision to scrap Four-Year- Undergraduate Programme (FYUP).

Although, the university scrapped these courses and the last batch graduated in the year 2017, the university continued to incur expenditure on these courses as reported by The Times of India. A total of Rs. 29, 56,186 has been spent on such courses by the University.

While it seems absurd that the university has kept spending a large amount of funds on such courses which it no longer offers, Mr. Ramesh Chandra, the Head of Department of Chemistry of the university expounded the reason behind such expenditure.

“The expenditure was incurred mainly for the maintenance of laboratories and equipment. There was also the payment of staff salaries. All expenses had been approved by the finance committee of the university. Also the laboratories are being used by students from courses other than nano-science and nano-technology,”

Mr. Ramesh to the Times of India.

However, the expenditure details show a mere Rs. 6.2 lakhs being spent on maintenance. The chemistry department shows expenditure of Rs. 18 lakh on chemicals, machinery and equipment in 2017-18 and 2018-19 without any mention of them being used to pay salaries. Further, in the year 2019-20, the records show an expenditure of Rs. 43,160 on these courses, but interestingly the last 2 non-teaching staff associated to these courses were relived from their posts in March 2019.

The Times of India reports that the matter is under investigation for the past 8 months. A letter received by the Union HRD Ministry also addressed to the university Vice Chancellor, Mr. Yogesh Tyagi on 15th July 2020 states that the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) has lodged 4 complaints and the same have also been sent to the Central Vigilance Officer of the university, for further action.

Feature Image Credits: DU Beat Archive

Abhinandan Kaul

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