The Gujarat University administration has woken up to the unnecessary association of the varsity with at least seven firms, technically called autonomous bodies, and has now planned to cut them off from the system for not only their insignificance but also for their poor financial probity.
The seven bodies were set up under Section-8 of the Company’s Act 2013 in the span of almost seven years. The purpose was to diversify the varsity’s work portfolios in unconventional manners for greater efficiency.
If sources are to be believed, it is a matter of time that the varsity management pulls down the shutters on at least five of them in the coming few weeks.
The bodies include Gujarat University Start-up and Entrepreneurship Council (GUSEC), Atal Incubation Centre (AIC), Gujarat University Consultancy Foundation, Institute of Defense Study and Research (IDSR) and the Gujarat University Park for Industrial Extension and Research (GUPIER) apart from two other such set-up in journalism department and others. These companies have been set-up since 2017-18 onwards at the GU, with GUSEC being the first such set-up.
Sources say, these companies may be working from within the GU campus but neither do they fall under the varsity’s leadership ambit to seek response nor do they share the revenue benefits with GU. They are not answerable to GU’s authorities, nor do they contribute in any manner to GU’s academic module. No record of the earnings or loss or the financial model adopted by them is available. Moreover, they are not contributing to the varsity’s growth in any manner except eating away infrastructure.
The first doubts were raised when some of the executive council members demanded to audit these section-8 companies and sought financial share from their revenues. The probe and reasoning started after new Vice-Chancellor Neerja Gupta took over.
“Two of these autonomous bodies — AIC GUSEC and IDSR — that are set up with IIT-RAM and the education department — may be of our interest and may be continued. However, for the IDSR, we do not have to run a company to sustain the research projects and so it may not be necessary to continue it as a company,” said Gupta.
Keeping in mind the welfare of the GU and putting to rest allegations of corruption and malpractice at these section-8 companies, the varsity heads immediately decided to step in and act.
“Initially, we have decided that the VC, Registrar and Chief Accounts officer at GU will be custodians of these companies. We are studying their financial model and if we feel like removing and closing down these section-8 companies, we will do it after due process,” she said.
If sources are to be believed, Gujarat government’s education officials who are also appointed as head of the governing bodies to run the companies have also given a go-ahead to close down the companies if the GU management finds them inappropriately run.