By Jayanth RS & Pranav Guruprasad
When higher education minister Basavaraj Rayareddi said Visvesvaraya Technological University (VTU) was on the verge of shut-down due to bankruptcy, it sent shockwaves through academic corridors. The minister said, “The Central government’s seizure of Rs 441 crore during an Income-Tax raid in 2014-15 caused the university to go bankrupt. The varsity has no money and we will perhaps shut it down.”
Academicians believe that shutting down a university is not a solution to end the mess. Karan Kumar, former executive council member VTU, told Mirror, “With my experience at VTU, I can tell the minister that the IT department had not done anything wrong. They only collected tax on the interest by keeping deposits. We were wrong in collecting more than what we required in the first 17 years of operation. It was only in the last two years that we appointed faculty and there is expense happening, otherwise till 2014, we collected more than what we required,” he said.
Explaining further, he said, for instance in 1998, if the revenue was Rs 60 crore from all affiliated colleges, they hardly spent Rs 30 crore. Rules clearly state they cannot collect money more than required. If they do so, and if they earn interest over the deposits, then they have to pay tax on the interest. Hence, the minister was wrong when he said what that the IT department did was wrong. We have not lost anything. Our principle amount is very much there. They took only 33 per cent tax,” he said.
Karan Kumar said, “I believe that it is only the mismanagement that has led the university off the track in the last seven years. I strongly believe that it can be put back on track and it is not difficult,” he said.
Dr BK Ravi Registrar, Bangalore University said, “VTU is one of the most prestigious universities of the country. Karnataka has a great tradition of technical education, including Sir M V Visvesvaraya’s contributions. VTU has its alumni throughout the world and there is a necessity to save this university.”