Varanasi : Eyeing academic, research and administrative excellence, Banaras Hindu University has undertaken a comprehensive exercise of reforming its administrative and financial machinery. Vice-Chancellor Prof. Sudhir Kumar Jain had constituted a three-member administrative reforms committee comprising very senior and seasoned former bureaucrats of Government of India, to suggest ways for making the complex administrative and functional structure a simple, efficient and practical one. The Committee, chaired by Sh. Pawan Agrawal, Former Secretary, Government of India, had Sh. Parag Prakash, Former Deputy Comptroller & Auditor General, Government of India, and Sh. R. D. Sahai, Former Joint Secretary, Ministry of Education, Government of India, as members.
The committee held detailed and wide ranging discussions with all the stakeholders of the university, encompassing all the departments, units, centers and other bodies and took their inputs regarding operational challenges and difficulties, suggestions and possible solutions. Committee members visited all the institutes, faculties, offices in the main campus as well as the South Campus in Barkachha, and conducted a detailed review of the infrastructure, facilities and processes.
The committee submitted its report to the Vice-Chancellor at the committee room number one of the Central Office of the university, followed by a discussion on the roadmap of the implementations of recommendations, which was attended by key functionaries of the university.
In total the committee has made 64 recommendations in order to enhance efficiency, accountability, transparency and objectivity and improve service delivery, coordination, productivity and responsiveness. The report of the committee has stressed on the importance of a consultative approach and a robust monitoring system. It has proposed a weekly internal monitoring system complemented by monthly external monitoring to track progress.
The committee has recommended creation of three new positions of Dean (Academic Affairs), Dean (Research & Development) and Dean (Technology & Digital Learning) in the course of improving various aspects of academic aspects of the university. The committee noted certain limitations and challenges in terms of space, resources and manpower, and has recommended optimizing use of office space in a more efficient and effective way. It also called for reviewing the role of activities or units that do not contribute to the core activities of the university.
The committee also observed multiplicity in the hierarchy which leads to delays in decision making and recommended delayering of the administrative structure. It has also advised management of data centrally to address delays and discrepancies. One of the key recommendations was on adopting measures for better use of modern management methods and greater use of IT systems and tools, digital learning, digital library and IT security. It suggested that the university should make considerable investments in this regard.
The committee has advocated greater efforts on capacity building to make manpower more efficient and motivated while setting up training and incentives avenues for up-skilling of clerical staff. It also suggested study visits for academic and administrative staff to learn best practices from other institutions.
The recommendations note that the research potential of the university is underutilized. It has suggested that a detailed exercise should be undertaken to review this aspect and promote inter-disciplinary and trans-disciplinary research and activities. It said that the university should take advantage of the diverse expertise and resources available to create innovative solutions to complex problems.
On the issue of bringing fiscal prudence, discipline and transparency in expenditure, the committee recommended that the budget making process should be streamlined. It also underlined the need to exercise caution in expenditure, avoid wastage and raise funds.
The committee proposed that the university should put in greater efforts to reconnect with the alumni. It also called for community outreach activities by the university and suggested that BHU should endeavor to collaborate with various stakeholders in order to make a significant contribution to the community. The recommendations put a special focus on enriching the learning experience of students, strengthening placement mechanisms and specialized units of the university.
Vice-Chancellor Prof. Sudhir Kumar Jain lauded the efforts of the administrative reforms committee in coming up with comprehensive recommendations. He exhorted the members of the BHU fraternity to set their priorities and work in that regard in order to make the institution a more dynamic and effective one.
Chairman of the committee Sh. Pawan Agrawal said the recommendations are based on the inputs, suggestions and ideas that emerged during the deliberations with various stakeholders. Member, Sh. Parag Prakash said BHU is uniquely placed in terms of the sense of pride its members have towards the institution. This will make the exercise of transforming the institution much easier, he added. Sh. R D Sahai said the report provides an enabling environment in addressing the issues being faced by the institution. He urged that while implementation constant monitoring must also be done.
Rector Prof. V. K. Shukla, Registrar Prof. Arun Kumar Singh, Finance Officer, Dr. Abhay Thakur, Directors of the Institutes, Deans of Faculties, Faculty members and senior officers of the university were also present on the occasion.