There is corruption to the tune of Rs 500 crore in 17 universities across the state, according to Minister for Higher Education Basavaraj Rayareddy.
Addressing mediapersons on Tuesday, Rayareddy said the reports sent by deputy commissioners, zilla panchayat finance officers and superintending engineers of the PWD regarding the funds availed and spent, bank details of each of the universities and development works had been examined.
“There are irregularities in all the universities, including VTU. At the outset, it looks like this amounts to Rs 500 crore. It may be more than this,” he added.
“A three-member committee is looking into the reports given by the officers. Those involved in the scams will be held responsible,” he said, adding the report would be submitted to Chief Minister Siddaramaiah.
Speaking about vacancies in colleges, Rayareddy said out of 412 government first grade colleges, only 42 had principals. He said as per UGC norms, existing vacancies would be filled by promoting eligible lecturers by the next academic year. He said the 3,000 posts of lecturers in these colleges were filled recently. There are 500 to 600 posts still vacant.
The Higher Education Department would seek Rs 3,500-crore World Bank loan to improve facilities in universities. This, the minister said, would be used to upgrade libraries and other facilities.
When asked why the amount could not be availed of from the Central government, Rayareddy said the Centre was reluctant to grant funds. “After Modi government took charge, several schemes have been stopped due to paucity of funds,” he said.
Rayareddy said 36% of the foreign students who come to study in the country choose Karnataka. The minister claimed the roadmap to improve the functioning of universities was ready.
The valedictory function of the seven-day 154th Vivekananda birth anniversary celebrations would take place at the Palace Grounds in Bengaluru on Wednesday. Rayareddy said close to 50,000 students are expected to participate in the event.
The government is spending over Rs 2.5 crore for the event. Buses have been arranged to bring students from across the state to the venue.