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Tuesday, February 12, 2013

STI Policy (2013): Implementation hurdle- is U/C condition bringing research at IITs/ IISc to halt?

Release of grants to faculty is guided by General Finance Rules (GFR) of Government of India. Researchers are expected to spend the money received in the current financial year  and seek next installment in the following year. The GFR condition stipulates that unspent amount need to be returned to the granting body if carry forward is not approved . In actual practice, the researcher routinely keeps the unspent money on to his / her project account and submits Utilisation Certificate (U/C) only when he/she needs next installment.
State governments are major defaulters in submission of U/Cs and many times Finance Ministry takes a tough stand w.r.t defaulting states.
Both,the amount released and underutilized by researchers is insignificant yet this time the Finance Ministry wants the scientific departments to play tough. I understand that departments now insist on U/C from the institute for all the projects taken by its researchers. That means if an IIT has 20 projects run by 20 different faculty, then this IIT has to submit a comprehensive U/C for all the 20 projects. If information from one faculty is delayed all others suffer.Whether the threat of stopping further research grants would actually be carried out or not is to be seen but this directive has slowed down funds release to the researchers.

What is the way out of this bureaucratic maze? Why cannot the annual budgetary support to academic and research institutes be increased so that they do not have to seek grants from scientific  departments for individual projects?

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