Mumbai: In the absence of the top senate members, officials from the Mumbai University gave a nod to a total fiscal budget of Rs 811 crore for the academic year 2023-34 on March 20, 2023.
MU has upped its total outlay by Rs 2 crore since the previous year’s Rs 809 crore budget with the National Education Policy (NEP) coming into the picture.
MU Budget 2023-24: Infra tops the list
A total of 27 schemes, only a few of which are new, will utilise this year’s fiscal budget apart from MU’s recurring expenses.
Infrastructural projects took the spotlight once again with an allotment of Rs 50 crores for new buildings such as the Hindi Urdu Bhasha Bhavan, Bal Apte Dalan, School of Language (Phase 2), International Students’ Hostel (Phase 2), New Class III and Class IV quarters with a community hall, and development on the Vengurla sub-campus.
A Sum of Rs 13.65 crore has also been shelled out for MU’s overall building repairs and another Rs 1.15 crore will be used to better the sub-campuses in Raigad, Sindhudurg, and Thane among others.
Apart from these, the university has set aside a fund of Rs 25 crore for the long pending construction of Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar International Research Centre which was launched two years ago, with 6 acres of land allotted for it in the Kalina campus. The research centre was given Rs 3 crore in the previous year’s budget and Rs 2 crore the year before that.
With a further allocation of Rs 22.5 crore, MU hopes to make its Kalina campus friendlier for students with disabilities by creating separate spaces in study rooms and libraries. The varsity allotted the same amount to this project in 2021-22.
MU to go digital before implemnting NEP
Another important allocation went to the preparations for National Education Policy (NEP), which will be implemented in the upcoming academic year 2023-24. The varsity has set aside a corpus of Rs 2.50 crore to get Professors of Practise (PoP) on board while another 2 crore has been solely dedicated to awareness and training workshops on NEP.
Digitisation of the varsity was also at the forefront of the budget with two major schemes focusing on the computerisation of activities on campus.
“The Single Window scheme will allow students to get everything they require through their single student portal. They no longer need to visit multiple offices. The Digital University initiative, on the other hand, will be used to create a customised e-Samarth platform to ease processes for students as well as the admin,” said Prof. Pradeep Kamthekar, MU’s Finance and Accounts Officer, who presented the budget before the MU senate assembly.
The varsity allotted a whopping amount of Rs 35 crore to Digital University’s scheme and also gave an additional Rs 1 crore for enhancing the ‘single window system’ scheme which was launched by the then state government in 2018.
Year of Millets, G-20 in spotlight
Other schemes which made their way into MU’s 2023-24 budget were the celebration of the International Year of Millets, the G-20 presidency, and solar energy and green hydrogen initiatives. Interestingly, after bagging the 45th NIRF rank last year, the varsity has decided to invest Rs 1 crore to improve its NAAC, NIRF, and QS rankings.
The new girls’ hostel building on the Kalina campus, which caused a stir in February 2023 due to its inhabitable conditions, was also allotted a sum of Rs 25 lakh for the improvement of facilities. The MU libraries have also been given Rs 50 lakh for digitisation of manuscripts alongside the Rs 75 lakh which was received as donations.
Budget announced in absence of VC
Despite an increase in the budget, Mumbai University still foresees a deficit of Rs 99.45 crore for the academic year 2023-24 which will be compensated using alumni donations and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) funds among other measures, explained Prof. Kamthekar.
At the budget session, the officials also revealed that the varsity has seen a 17.79% growth in college affiliation and 19.74% growth in its student count with 8.56 lakh students currently enrolled at the varsity and its colleges. The varsity is still functioning without top officials as there have been no full-time appointments for the post of the MU Vice Chancellor (VC). The VC search committee placed an advertisement inviting applicants and will begin shortlisting the candidates after April 15.
(To receive our E-paper on WhatsApp daily, please click here. To receive it on Telegram, please click here. We permit sharing of the paper's PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)