DAE cash woes didn't impact TIFR alone

One of the 11 DAE institutes was Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR), Mumbai which told its scientists, research students and other staffs to accept only 50% of their salary due to the paucity of funds. TIFR required Rs 21 crore for the salary.

As many as 11 autonomous institutes under the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) faced a fund crunch while disbursing the February salary.

The “budget crisis” compelled the Atomic Energy Commission Chairman and DAE Secretary K N Vyas to approach R A Badwe, director of the Tata Memorial Centre (TMC) seeking an emergency release of Rs 70 crore from the cancer hospital's fund to “tide over the situation.”

The TMC is the only DAE institute that earns substantially more than the government funds primarily because of fees paid by cancer patients who flock to the famed Mumbai hospital from all over the country.

On March 1, Vyas wrote to Badwe with reference to their telephonic conversation with regard to the budget crisis faced by the department in releasing the salaries to the aided institutes of the department.

“In order to tide over the situation, I shall be grateful if you could kindly release the funds to the extent of Rs 70 crore under salaries to the aided institutes,” Vyas wrote in his letter.

The TMC was to directly release the money to the bank of the 11 institutes, which were told to return the same to the TMC once their regular budget is released by the Union government.

One of the 11 DAE institutes was Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR), Mumbai which told its scientists, research students and other staffs to accept only 50% of their salary due to the paucity of funds. TIFR required Rs 21 crore for the salary.

As the news of TIFR cash woes went viral, the government undertook a fire-fighting exercise and credited the rest of the salary to employee's bank account within a few hours. 

The letter from Vyas, however, demonstrate that the problem was far deep-rooted

The 10 other institutes that felt the pinch are: Atomic Energy Education Society (Salary grant: Rs 3.6 crore); National Institute of Science, Education and Research, Bhubaneswar (Rs 2.3 crore); Institute of Physics, Bhubaneswar (Rs 1.5 crore); The Institute of Mathematical Sciences, Chennai (Rs 1.82 crore); Institute for Plasma Research, Gandhinagar (Rs 7 crore); Saha Institute of Nuclear Physics (Rs 7 crore); Harish Chandra Research Institute, Allahabad (Rs 1.41 crore), Homi Bhabha National Institute, Mumbai (0.08 crore); Tata Memorial Centre (Rs 21.6 crore) and University of Mumbai-Department of Atomic Energy Centre for Excellence in Basic Sciences, Mumbai (0.76 crore).

DAE spokesperson Ravi Shankar didn't respond to DH phone calls and text messages.

The crisis was brewing for several days as TIFR employees didn't receive the salary by February end, which is generally the norm. “Even the 50% salary came after a week. I have never seen such a thing here,” a TIFR scientist told DH.

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DAE cash woes didn't impact TIFR alone

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