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September 13, 2009

Gauhati University must Not Borrow

The administration of Gauhati University recently decided to borrow well over a crore of rupees for the wrong reasons. Another visit from the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) is due in a few weeks, and the university authorities, hell-bent on getting a five-star rating this time, were even planning to borrow money for window-dressing. The university administrators felt that there were ugly eyesores like the canteen that had to be given a facelift before the arrival of the NAAC team. This is like going to the bank and saying that a loan of x rupees was needed because the prospective in-laws of a daughter of the house were coming to see the would-be bride, and because both house and daughter needed a facelift. This would be regarded as a most preposterous reason for seeking a loan, because in fiscal terms such a loan would not generate any surplus nor stem any major source of loss of the university. The loan would merely provide a kind of window-dressing that it may not even be possible for the university to sustain. Any faculty member of the Economics department or the Business Administration department would have told the university that this was a bad loan to take because it was not for productive purposes. But that apart, most of us are bad borrowers because we are poor managers of money. The administrators are no different: good at borrowing but without any sense of responsibility about repaying what was borrowed and the interest accrued thereon. They will not be able to repay this ill-conceived loan because no one is thinking of how the money to repay it will be earned. The teachers of the university are most justified in opposing this loan for mere window-dressing. THE SENTINEL

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