Kolkata: Assistance from central funding agencies to the new Presidency University will come easy now as the new university has been recognised as a state university under the University Grants Commission (UGC) Act.
The inclusion of the university under Section 12(B) of the UGC Act 1956, was crucial for getting the central funds. Presidency as a premier institution had the 12(B) approval when it was a college. Accordingly, central organisations like the UGC, Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and Department of Science and Technology (DST) had released grants worth Rs 4.68 crore during the last two fiscals to keep the projects afloat in the college. The funds stopped after the college became a university and that did not get the recognition for the last one year.
Section 12(B) of the UGC Act stipulates that a university would be eligible for central funds only when the UGC declares it "fit for receiving such grant". Till the other day, the UGC had recognised Presidency University under Section 2(F) of the Act, but the "fit declaration" was pending.
Presidency University had applied made the application for 12(B) recognition months ago. Sources say that former vice-chancellor Amita Chatterjee had been following up the matter with education minister Bratya Basu and the UGC, to get central grants for Presidency. Things turned for the worse after the Centre stopped funding the ongoing research projects in science that the college had been getting till it became a university. Stipend for physically challenged students was also stopped. and also the stipend for the handicapped students.
"The recognition has come recently. We needed it to get support from the central funding agencies for our research activities, particularly in science. There are state universities that are awaiting the UGC recognition as yet," said Presidency University vice-chancellor Malabika Sarkar.
Sarkar pointed out that the recognition was granted to the university after a UGC visiting team from Delhi came to the university and inspected all the departments, checked the faculty strength and infrastructure in place. "I am waiting for the UGC letter and will call a meeting of the heads of departments so that they can submit research proposals in consultation with their teacher colleagues that will be sent to the UGC for funding," the vice-chancellor said.
Former Presidency College principal Sanjib Ghosh felt feels assured with the development. "This will put an end to the prevailing uncertainty over the ongoing research projects. The new university can now apply to the UGC seeking funds for buying modern equipment or upgrading the laboratories and also fetch funds for space expansion. I believe that the central funding agencies will grant much more funds than what that they did when Presidency was a college. This will enable the university to get matching grants from the state as well," said Ghosh.