Ministry of Human Resource Development has grilled the state government over the poor performance in utilizing the funds released to the Higher Education department under a centrally sponsored scheme – Rashtriya Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan (RUSA).
Officials said funds worth an amount of Rs 118 crores were approved by MHRD after the Project Approval Board (PAB) meeting held in May last year in New Delhi of which Rs 23 crores were released to the JK government as well. "But the state government couldn't utilize the money on the projects following which the MHRD has stopped the second installment of funds," officials said, adding that the complete utilization of funds released during the first installment was prerequisite for getting the second and third installments released.
"State can't get the new share unless it submits its utilization certificate showing the proper utilization of previous funds."
Officials said the performance of the department in executing the developmental works was poor during the 2014-15 financial year due to which the department couldn't submit its Utilization Certificate and seek release of the second installment.
"The department has now started to compile Detailed Project Reports (DPRs) for the works to be executed under this scheme and at some places some construction has been started but MHRD is unhappy with the performance,' officials said, adding that the department had recently submitted the Utilization Certificate which was rejected by MHRD.
"MHRD has asked the Higher education department to submit its Utilization Certificate along with the photographs showing the physical status of works undertaken by the department."
Notably the second PAB meeting of RUSA for 2015-16 financial year is expected in the first or second week of October. However the JK's higher education department may not be entertained for fund release given its poor performance for the current financial year. "This is obvious, we are yet to fully utilize last year funds. We won't be getting any fund allocation for the next year," a senior official in the department said.
In the current year the department had to establish two cluster universities, one each for Kashmir and Jammu, besides introducing vocational courses in 20 colleges including nine each in Jammu and Kashmir besides one each in Leh and Kargil.
"Funds released by MHRD during last PAB meeting were supposed to be utilized completely till the month of March this year but we couldn't meet the target,' officials said.
Secretary Higher Education department Sarita Chauhan admitted the delay in executing works under RUSA scheme and said the department had not compiled DPRs last year.
"The whole process was started late which caused delay in executing works," she said, adding that some works have been started and the department has submitted Utilization Certificate of the same amount to MHRD.
She said MHRD has its own way to deal with the scheme. "They are asking for pictures showing physical status of works which we have submitted to them. We expect that some amount for second installment would be released," she said.
RUSA, a Centrally sponsored scheme implemented on the ratio of 90:10 in JK, aims to improve equity in higher education by providing adequate opportunities to socially deprived communities and promote inclusion of women, minorities, SC/ST and OBCs as well as differently abled people.