Haryana government set to audit all 24 private universities amid complaints

The Haryana government is ready to order a detailed audit of the state’s 24 private universities amid complaints that some of them were not complying with the provisions of the law. This decision comes in the context of the State Department of Higher Education issue of a show cause notice to Ashoka University, accusing it of “embezzlement” by not admitting enough in-state students or granting them a fee reduction as required by the 2006 Universities Act colleges in Haryana, an allegation the private university has denied.

Additional Chief Secretary (Higher Education) Anand Mohan Sharan told the Indian Express that the audit will cover
administrative, academic and financial aspects.

“It is provided by law that an annual audit of universities must be carried out. We made the decision to do so. The methods and the points on which the audit must be carried out are currently being drawn up. We are also thinking about the agency that would be hired to carry out the verification. This may be the Office of the Accountant General or a central government agency. The whole process will be completed in a fortnight,” Sharan said.

In the show cause notice to Ashoka University, Sharan said, “There were certain complaints received by the department based on which it requested the university to provide certain details. Based on the details provided by the university, the department found deviations that constituted aberrations and a violation of the provisions of the law. The university again submitted a detailed response to our review. The ministry is looking into it”.

On July 6, responding to questions sent by The Indian Express regarding the show cause notice, Ashoka University had refuted the government’s charges. “Ashoka University complies with all requirements of the Private Universities Act and all state and national higher education regulations in letter and spirit. The university also follows the highest standards of institutional governance backed by rigorous auditing, and there is no question of any financial impropriety in this regard or any other aspect of its operation,” read part of the response. of the university based in Sonipat.

The state’s higher education department also revealed that in another case, a show cause notice was also given to the World Design University, Sonipat. “The university had started admissions in courses for which it had not sought prior approval from the government. After reviewing their response, the university was fined Rs 10 lakh,” Sharan said.

The senior official said that under the Private Universities Act, a fine ranging from Rs 10 lakh to Rs 1 crore can be imposed on a private university depending on the seriousness of the offence. “Since it was their first offence, the government imposed the minimum fine,” Sharan added.

Sharan also disclosed that another SRM university, also based in Sonipat, had received a show cause notice to start classes without prior government approval. The university has submitted its response, which the department says “is under review.”

Explaining the reasons behind the decision to initiate an audit of private universities, Sharan said: “It is a requirement under the law, but it has not been done. In the interests of young people, the audit should be carried out on an annual basis. The state government has made strict compliance checks as more and more private universities come into existence”.

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